Thompson to follow Graham advice

Widnes flyer Corey Thompson says he will heed the advice of his former Bulldogs teammate James Graham as he seeks to make a successful transition from the NRL to Super League.

Thompson has joined the Vikings from Canterbury, where he played alongside the England international prop for two years.

“When he found that I was going to Widnes he just said expect that the weather’s not going to be same as in Australia,” he said.

“It’s a new culture and everything, it might be a shock to me but he said that the Super League in itself has gotten very, very good.

“That I’ll enjoy myself and just make the most of it.

“Show people that I can play footy and enjoy it.”

Thompson spent two years at Belmore, crossing for 15 tries in 35 NRL appearances.

He played for the Bulldogs in the iconic 2014 grand final, where Sam BurgessSouth Sydney prevailed over Graham and the Dogs 30-6.

In that match Burgess had his cheekbone and eye socket broken by Graham in the first tackle of the game but played on to end Souths’ 43-year wait for a premiership.

The grand final is regarded as one of the great NRL deciders.

“It was something that I’ll never forget,” Thompson said.

“The whole week leading up to it we had open fan days watching us train, a couple of thousand people watching us train.

“We had the NRL breakfast, Darling Harbour, we were on The Footy Show that night, it was a pretty surreal week.

“And to run out in front of almost 86,000 is something that I’ll never forget.”

Thomspon played in the Queensland Cup with Souths Logan Magpies and the Eastern Tigers before breaking into the NRL.

The 25-year old most of his junior football at fullback but on the wing for the Bulldogs, and said he is keen to have a crack at the number one jumper at the Select Security Stadium.

Fellow Australian Rhys Handbury has had a stranglehold on the position in recent seasons but Thompson believes competition for spots is healthy for the team.

“I think that’s always a good thing,” he said.

“I grew up playing fullback but I spent the last years at the Bulldogs playing on the wing.

“If Rhys comes back and I end up shifting on the wing for a while that doesn’t bother me.

“But I think in the long run competition is good for a team.

“You don’t want people being complacent and getting comfortable playing in their position, you want people playing their best each week worrying about the younger boys or other players, nipping at their feet and trying to get that position.”

Thompson played some minutes in the first half of Widnes’ friendly loss to Warrington.

The outside back has been working closely with Vikings assistant coach Brett Hodgson and former NSW Origin custodian on adapting to the fullback role.

“He’s been helping me a lot just with timing and running the sweep line out the back with players and getting the passing right,” Thompson said.

“He’s been pretty good so far.”

With the likes of Handbury, Patrick Ah Van, Charly Runciman and Chris Bridge, Widnes will have some strikepower in its backline in 2016.

“Paddy will probably run through a few people,” Thompson said.

“It will be good having a big boy sitting on the wing and Charly, I watched him play at the Dragons for a couple of games and he played really well.

“When I arrived over here he was killing it, scoring tries in every game, so it will be exciting to play amongst them next year.”

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