New Zealand forward Bodene Thompson is the latest Toronto Wolfpack player to find a new home, signing with Leeds Rhinos for the remainder of the 2020 season.
Ricky Leutele (Melbourne Storm), Liam Kay (Wakefield Trinity) and Gareth O’Brien (Castleford Tigers) have all moved on recently with Kay’s move permanent while the others are out on loan.
Former All Black Sonny Bill Williams is expected to join the Sydney Roosters for the rest of the season.
Toronto pulled out of England’s Super League last month, saying it could not afford to play out the rest of the season. The transatlantic rugby league team, which has not made its payroll since June 10, has given permission for players to strike their own deals and go out on loan for the remainder of the season.
The Wolfpack are up for sale with majority owner David Argyle stepping away from the financially troubled franchise.
The 32-year-old Thompson played for the Gold Coast Titans, Wests Tigers, New Zealand Warriors and Warrington Wolves before joining the Wolfpack in October 2018.
“I had a number of options but when I spoke to Brian McDermott, my head coach at Toronto (and former Leeds coach), he told me there was only one club I should be joining,” Thompson said in a statement.
“It has been a tough year so far with the coronavirus lockdown and then the uncertainty over Toronto’s future and I am just pleased to have this season sorted now,” he added.
“I could have just sat 2020 out and waited for next season but that is not the sort of character I am, I wanted to get back out on the field as soon as possible and I would like to thank Leeds Rhinos for giving me that opportunity.”
The Rhinos are hurting at forward with James Donaldson, Alex Mello, Stevie Ward and Dom Crosby all injured.
“This is a win-win situation for Bodene and ourselves.” said Leeds coach Richard Agar. “He is able to show what he can do whilst allowing us to strengthen our pack with a tough period of games coming up in a short period of time.”