Widnes have confirmed Corey Thompson has activated his NRL ‘opt out’ clause in his contract and will return Down Under for the 2018 season.
Thompson, who joined the Vikings in 2016 from Canterbury Bulldogs, has opted to return to Australia from next year, but will remain with the Vikings for the duration of the 2017 season.
Widnes boss Denis Betts said: “Firstly, I would like to wish Corey and his family the best of luck for the future and thank him for his service to the Vikings.
“This is a decision that the club was not expecting. However, this now frees up a quota space for us to utilise and strengthen the squad in 2018.
“I have no doubt that Corey will continue to work hard for this club for the rest of this season.”
Thompson added: “Although I have loved my time at Widnes Vikings since joining in 2016, I have made this decision in order to be closer to family and friends.
“The Vikings supporters have been brilliant with me during my stay, and I cannot thank them enough for their support and backing of me and the team since I have arrived.
“To score 27 tries in my debut season here was absolutely fantastic. It is an achievement that I’m proud of, and to do it in a Vikings team that recorded the club’s best ever position in the Super League made it even better.
“I will continue to give my all for the club for the remainder of 2017 as we try to improve upon our position in Super League, as well as the Challenge Cup, before heading back to Australia for the next stage in my career.”