NRL 2020: Burgess encourages Thompson to join NRL

South Sydney prop Thomas Burgess has revealed he played a part in luring fellow British big man Luke Thompson to the NRL and Canterbury.

Thompson has arrived at Belmore after 14 days of isolation in a Melbourne hotel.

The former St Helens bookend is unlikely to take on the Rabbitohs on Sunday as Bulldogs coach Dean Pay aims to give him more time to find his fitness.

Burgess expects Thompson to excel in the NRL after encouraging him to join the world’s best rugby league competition last year.

“We had chats about potentially coming out to the NRL and he was all for it,” Burgess said about Thompson, who scored 67 tries in his 157 games for St Helens between 2013 and 2020.

“I said to him that I’d back him, and I think he would be great. It is good to see that he has come out here.

“Í messaged him on Instagram the other day. I don’t think he has got an Australian number yet.

“He is in Sydney now, so I’ll try and catch up with him when I can.”

Former St Helens prop Luke Thompson is tipped to excel at the Canterbury Bulldogs. Picture: Clive Brunskill/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Burgess believes a fit, strong and determined Thompson will add significant strength to Canterbury’s forward pack.

He has seen his fellow countryman standout on the international stage for England and Great Britain and believes he can transfer this success to the NRL.

“I think he (Luke) is going to kill it – he is a great player,” he said.

“I know him well as I’ve played with him internationally, and I’ve roomed with him last year.

“He has got a great work ethic and I think that is something that will go well for him over here.

“The game is really going to suit his style of play. He is a hard runner; he has good line speed and he is a good defender.”

Thompson’s arrival in the NRL continues a rich tradition of English players to choose Australia as a career path.

Burgess believes more British players could play Down Under, but he warned the career move was a major challenge competing against the best players.

“The NRL isn’t for everyone,” he said.

“It is a long way to come and you are away from your family. We were very fortunate that we had all our family move over, so it worked out well for us.

“The competition in England is still going great, but for everyone to come over it wouldn’t work.

“But if it works for an individual player and they want to give it a crack, I think it is good for them.”

Originally published asHow Burgess lured Thompson to the NRL

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