NRL talking points: Luke Thompson staying at Canterbury and Josh Addo-Carr’s future

Jenna Brooks looks at the latest big issues in Australia, including the futures of Luke Thompson and Josh Addo-Carr, and a new head coach at St George…

Thompson stays

There were reports that Luke Thompson was on the verge of returning home after the Bulldogs forward admitted to suffering from homesickness.

However, the England international has promised he will honour his three-year contract.

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“I’ve signed a three-year deal here and I’m fully committed to the Bulldogs,” said the former St Helens star.

“We’ve got the new coach next year and I’m really excited for the challenge and my future at the club. I’m also looking to bring my girlfriend back for next year, so it should be good.

“But it has been tough since I’ve been here. I’ve come to the other side of the world on my own, but I’ve just been focusing on the rugby and doing my best for the team each week.

“There are three weeks to go and we’ll go from there.”

I have no doubt if Thompson does decide to return home, he will have offers from every corner of Super League.

Griffin on job

Anthony Griffin has been handed the top job at St George Illawarra Dragons from next season on a two-year deal.

The club’s board voted unanimously on Monday to appoint the former Brisbane and Panthers coach, ahead of interim coach Dean Young.

With the Dragons only reaching the finals twice in the last nine years, Griffin, who replaces Paul McGregor, has a huge task ahead of him.

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“They’ve leaked 23 to 24 points a game now for two seasons,” Griffin told Fox Sports. “That probably comes back to the attitude and the way they train.

“We need to get a harder edge on the squad, but to do that there is list management, rosters to take care of. They’ve lost a lot of experience with James Graham, Jack de Belin and Tyson Frizell.”

Griffin hasn’t ruled out leading his new team to a premiership in the next two years.

“Anything is possible,” Griffin added. “I think we will be building towards one you can be sure of that. Whether we are close enough in two years I don’t know.

“In two years, I won’t say it won’t happen, but we will be building towards getting in range if everything goes our way.”

Team news

Newcastle’s star full-back Kalyn Ponga will be rested for this Saturday’s game against the reigning premiers the Sydney Roosters, after enduring a number of big hits in their win over Cronulla.

But none bigger than the shoulder charge from Chad Townsend that resulted in the Sharks playmaker becoming the third NRL player this season to be sent off for the incident.

Townsend was given a three-game suspension, which keeps him sidelined for the remainder of the regular season.

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“I never went out there to intentionally shoulder charge,” Townsend said. “I was just competing and trying to do something good for my team and it came off the wrong way, which I definitely do regret.”

Great news for Canberra: Josh Papalii is set to sign a new deal with the Raiders in the coming days after he was cleared of a serious shoulder injury.

The 28-year old sustained the injury in the Raiders defeat to the Roosters, with initial reports suggesting it was his AC joint and he could miss the rest of the season, but the club have revealed he may be in line to play this weekend.

Not such good news for the Bulldogs though, who will be without prop Dylan Napa for the remainder of 2020 with a knee injury.

It’s a double blow for Canterbury, who have also lost Kieran Foran for the rest of the year. The veteran five-eighth ruptured his pectoral in the same game. It’s an injury that usually sidelines a player for a few months.

Parramatta’s title hopes have been dealt a blow, with hooker Reed Mahoney missing indefinitely after scans confirmed AC joint damage to his shoulder.

Addo-Carr’s future

Is Josh Addo-Carr close to a return to the Wests Tigers?

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the club have offered the Melbourne Storm star, who is seeking a release on compassionate grounds, a four-year, multi-million-dollar contract for next season.

The 25-year old has previously admitted to wanting to make the switch from winger to full-back, something which isn’t likely to happen while with Melbourne.

Addo-Carr, who is one of the fastest players in the game, recently spoke to Tigers coach Michael Maguire about switching positions and returning to his former club.

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