Leeds Rhinos need ‘monster offer’ to lure England forward as NRL boss offers transfer update

Josh McAllister
Luke Thompson, SWPix.

Picture by Will Palmer/SWpix.com.

There has been an update issued on England international Luke Thompson and his future, with his NRL contract coming to an end.

The Canterbury Bulldogs prop is yet to feature in 2023 after suffering a nasty pre-season injury, with prognosis ruling him out of the majority of the season Down Under.

His last competitive game came during last year’s World Cup with England on home soil, featuring from the interchange bench at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in the semi-final defeat to Samoa.

Earlier this season, Wigan had been linked with a move for the 28-year-old, with head coach Matt Peet previously expressing his admiration for the ex-St Helens forward.

Peet previously told Love Rugby League: “He’s certainly a player I admire. He obviously came through at St Helens and he’s fantastic player.

“He’s a player that we track and we keep an eye on what’s happening there. As far as the report and the figures on the story quoted, it was false.

“But he is a player that we, and I, admire and would be interested, if he was to become available.

“But in terms of the figures being tossed about, it wasn’t factual.”

Luke Thompson future update

Canterbury Bulldogs general manager Phil Gould has issued the latest on the off-contract star, who is believed to be on an estimated £400,000 a year.

The NRL great admitted that the player wants to get back on the field before deciding on his future, may that be in Australia or back in England.

Gould confirmed that there is no return date as yet, having sustained an ankle injury ahead of the 2023 season kick-off.

The general manager shared on social media: “As far as I know, Luke wanted to get back to playing before deciding anything about his future.

“There have been no contract discussions with us to this stage.”

Both Warrington and Leeds are actively looking into the player market following respective suspensions and injuries.

While Thompson’s salary could prove an issue, there is speculation that the Rhinos could look into a possible move.

Discussing the prospects of a Leeds approach, LeedsLive journalist Joe Appleyard claims it would take a ‘monster offer’ to persuade lure him back to England.

‘It might take a monster offer, but Leeds do have plenty of cap space,’ Appleyard wrote. ‘Can Smith afford to have a prop forward as his biggest earner? You’d probably think no. However, Thompson is not only a fantastic middle, he also wouldn’t class on the quota, so it’s a win-win for Leeds, who would be able to explore more NRL options if they pursued Thompson.’

Kruise Leeming departed the Rhinos in March to sign for the Gold Coast Titans on a deal until the end of 2023. So in theory, there could be space within their salary cap.

Leeds are also currently without Zane Tetevano indefinitely due to personal health concerns, with the likes of fellow forwards Tom Holroyd, Morgan Gannon and Sam Lisone also sidelined due to respective injuries.

Warrington in the market for reinforcements

Warrington overseas recruit Josh McGuire was handed a monster 12-match ban for unacceptable language on Tuesday, leaving head coach Daryl Powell short of middles, with Thomas Mikaele having left the club earlier this year to return to Australia.

There’s much speculation around McGuire, with question marks over his Warrington future after receiving his second ban.

The ex-Queensland representative missed the opening seven games of the Super League season due to a suspension for the same charge, unacceptable language, during a pre-season fixture against Leigh.

TOBY KING: Wigan boss on loanee’s future amid Warrington return reports

FOLLOW: Keep up with all the latest on the Love Rugby League mobile app