England prop Luke Thompson has confirmed his commitment to Canterbury and is looking forward to finally being able to spend some time with his new team-mates away from training and playing.
Thompson, who is contracted to the club until the end of the 2023 season, joined Canterbury from St Helens mid-way through the season and has struggled to adapt to the NRL’s strict bio-security protocols as he lives alone and has not had the chance to meet people or go anywhere.
NRL players are required to go directly to and from training or games, and cannot attend cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars or do recreational activities such as playing golf, tennis, surfing and swimming at the beach or pool.
After two weeks in a quarantine-hotel in Melbourne, Thompson has been in the Bulldogs’ "bubble" for 11 weeks and he admitted he was looking forwards to some freedom when the team's playing commitments finish in another three weeks.
"It is tough for everyone being in this bubble but it is especially tough for me coming into a team and not being able to get out with the lads and stuff," Thompson told NRL.com.
Bulldogs keep focus on the field
"I have only seen them at training so I can’t wait to start building some bonds and hopefully get a good pre-season in.
"It will be good for us as a team as well when we can get out of the bubble and start bonding a bit more by getting out and doing stuff together."
I am just looking forward to next season and working with Trent BarrettBulldogs forward Luke Thompson
Since Thompson’s arrival in late June, Canterbury have parted ways with coach Dean Pay and appointed Trent Barrett for 2021 after a dismal season in which they have managed just three wins.
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel with NSW Origin back Nick Cotric joining the Bulldogs from Canberra and the club signing veteran playmaker Blake Green, although he is recovering from a knee injury.
"Things are looking good and even at the minute, we are doing it tough and not getting the results but we are still fighting," Thompson said
"We just need a little tweak here or there and with the new coach next season, and a good pre-season, and hopefully we will have a good year."
While he is still adjusting to playing in the NRL, Thompson said he was pleased with what he had achieved so far and believes the decision to make the switch mid-year will ensure he is better prepared for next season.
"Obviously it has been tough since I have been here, as I am on my own in the bubble, but I am pretty happy with what I have done so far," he said.
Get Caught Up: Round 17
"I have played a few games back-to-back after not much training coming out of an isolation period in England and then only doing one week of training after the quarantine before my first game so I am happy with where I am at.
"The quarantine was tough and something I have never done before so that was a bit of a challenge and I was glad to get through it and start training with the boys. I am just looking forward to next season and working with Trent Barrett."