Luke Thompson on England return, Alex Walmsley blow & NRL step up

Luke Thompson England SWpix

Photo: Paul Currie/SWpix

England prop Luke Thompson says he is really enjoying his time in the NRL and isn’t ready for a return to Super League just yet.

The former St Helens prop will enter his fourth season with Canterbury Bulldogs in 2023. He believes his time the NRL so far has helped take his game to a new level.

“It’s a real tough competition, definitely a step up from Super League,” Thompson said. “It was a challenge I wanted at the time and I’m really enjoying it.

“There are 16 teams and every week a real tough game.

“Obviously the Bulldogs have struggled a bit, but it’s looking good for the next couple of years and I’m looking forward to next season.”

Thompson, who flew back to England two months ago when his mother fell ill, will be out of contract this time next year and has not ruled out a return to Super League in the future.

“Maybe one day,” said Thompson. “We’ll see how I go, I’ve still got unfinished business over there.”

Luke Thompson on returning to England for World Cup

Thompson will be looking to pick up from where he left off when he plays his first game on English soil for three years on Friday night.

The 27-year-old won the Harry Sunderland Trophy as man of the match in his farewell appearance for St Helens in their 23-6 Super League Grand Final win over Salford in October 2019.

That match was at Old Trafford and Thompson’s next one will be three miles up the road at the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford, where England take on Fiji in a World Cup warm-up fixture.

“It will be good to get a hit-out on Friday,” he said. “It’s a chance to open the lungs up and see where we’re at.”

Big blow for Big Al

The only disappointment for Thompson is that he won’t be running out alongside his former St Helens front-row partner Alex Walmsley, who is ruled out of the World Cup through injury.

“We’ll definitely miss big Al,” he said. “I was really excited to get over and link up with him again. I was devastated when I found out he was out.

“It’s what it is, though, these things happen in rugby league. It’s a next man up mentality to get the job done.”

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