St Helens back-rower Joel Thompson to retire at the end of the 2021 season

Joel Thompson (11) of St Helens is tackled by George Lawler (15) of Hull KR

St Helens have confirmed that Joel Thompson will retire at the end of the current Super League season.

Thompson, 32, joined the club ahead of the 2021 campaign from NRL side Manly Sea Eagles on a two-year deal, but will call time on his career at the end of the season and will return home.

 

He said: “Firstly I want to thank everyone at St Helens for giving me the opportunity to play for this great Club. I want to thank the players and of course the fans for welcoming me so openly.

“I also want to pay thanks to Kristian Woolf for putting his trust in me and for the way he has looked after me since I came over here.

“It’s not been an easy decision for me to call time on my career, but I do feel the end of the season is the right time to do that.

“I will make no secret of the fact that although my short time over here in the UK has been enjoyable for me personally, it has been extremely tough for my family both here and in Australia with everything that is going on right now.

“Family comes first for me and that is ultimately why I am making this tough decision to return home at the end of the year.

“I want to wish the Club all the best in the years ahead, but my job is not over yet as I want to finish my year here with success both at Wembley and in the Super League. All my focus is on achieving that with St Helens.”

Thompson made his first-team debut in 2008 for Canberra Raiders, before enjoying stints at St George Illawarra Dragons and Manly.

He has also represented Indigenous All Stars on seven occasions, and Country Origin twice.

Head Coach Kristian Woolf added: “I knew when we brought Joel into the Club what a professional he is and working with him has only emphasised that to me.

“He has vast experience and he is such a tough competitor. That’s what makes him the player he is and that is why he has such a glittering career. Over the short time he has been here we have really valued his input and his influence amongst the group.

“I know how tough it has been for Joel’s wife Amy and the girls, but they fit into this club really well and we all thoroughly understand and respect his and his family’s decision. We now want to support Joel and his family to ensure they enjoy the rest of their time with us.

“Joel is not finished yet though and I know he is fully focussed on achieving success with this group this season.”


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