Wigan Warriors: New club enters race for reported target, threatening to spoil recruitment plans

Josh McAllister
Luke Thompson celebrates his try against France at the delayed 2021 World Cup. Photo by Craig Cresswell/Alamy Live News.

Luke Thompson celebrates his try against France at the delayed 2021 World Cup. Photo by Craig Cresswell/Alamy Live News.

Luke Thompson could yet remain in the NRL in 2024 with a new club entering the race for the out-of-contract prop’s signature.

Australian journalist ‘Moley’ previously reported that Wigan Warriors were interested in the England international, who remains without a deal beyond the current season.

The forward is yet to feature for the Canterbury Bulldogs in 2023 after suffering a nasty pre-season injury.

The reports claimed that Wigan had offered a massive four-year deal for Thompson on money his current club can’t match.

Thompson’s current deal is said to be worth $800,000 a season, around £430,000, although Peet rubbished the reports involving money.

The Wigan boss did share his admiration for the 28-year-old, who won the Super League Grand Final twice with St Helens.

“He’s certainly a player I admire,” Peet previously told Love Rugby League.

“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.”

Dragons enter race for Luke Thompson

The Sydney Morning Herald is now reporting that incoming St George Illawarra Dragons boss Shane Flanagan has held a ‘secret meeting’ with the Canterbury forward.

57-year-old coach Flanagan will take charge of the side from next season on a three-year deal, with Ryan Carr currently acting as interim boss following the departure of Anthony Griffin.

Leigh Leopards star and Papua New Guinea international Edwin Ipape has emerged as another target for Flanagan, who was a part of the Kumuls’ backroom staff at last year’s delayed World Cup in England.

Thompson, who represented England under Shaun Wane on home soil last year, has been hampered by injuries since his switch to the NRL in 2020.

He has been limited to just 38 appearances across four seasons, with his most coming in 2021 with just 15.

Wigan are looking to bolster their forward pack options for 2024 under Peet, with salary cap space available following the sudden departure of John Bateman to the Wests Tigers ahead of the current campaign.

Salford Red Devils are lining up a move for off-contract Brad Singleton, according to Examiner Live, while Kai Pearce-Paul will join the Newcastle Knights next season.

Mike Cooper is expected to miss the start of 2024, if re-signed by the club, having suffered an ACL injury during the Good Friday derby with St Helens.

There is plenty of rising prospects coming through at the DW Stadium, including Harvie Hill and Junior Nsemba, while Wigan will be looking to add more experienced players to complement the youngsters.

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