Bulldogs secure England prop Thompson

Luke Thompson of St Helens breaks past Josh Jones and Jackson Hastings of Salford Red Devils. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Canterbury have sealed a deal to sign outstanding England front-rower Luke Thompson for the 2021 NRL season.

Thompson, who is widely regarded as the best bookend in the world game, has informed Super League champions St Helens that he will not be renewing his contract with the club when it expires in November to test himself in the NRL.

The 24-year-old, who last year became the first prop to be named man-of-the-match in Super League Grand final since 1992, will follow in the footsteps of James Graham who left Saints for Belmore in 2012.

St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus said in a statement: "We were informed last week that Luke has decided to join Canterbury Bulldogs next season.

"We accept and totally respect Luke's decision and wish him nothing but success in his career and in his life.

"We are absolutely sure that he will be absolutely committed to the club and to his team-mates for the rest of this season.

"There's no hiding from the fact that this is a bitter disappointment to all of us as Luke has been connected to the club since the age of 11 and has developed into an absolute top player at 24 years old.

"If ever he decides to return to England and to Super League then there would be a red carpet waiting for him at St Helens."