Wests Tigers insiders refer to Corey Thompson as “moneyballer”.
Thompson is rugby league’s answer to the Hollywood film Moneyball , which starred Brad Pitt and told the true story of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane and how he assembled a competitive roster with under-valued baseballers who delivered performances bigger than their pay packets. Whether it’s at fullback or either wing, Thompson continues to aim up and deliver for the joint venture - and on a modest wage.
“If he was a foot taller and 10kg heavier, he’d be James Tedesco,” one Tigers insider quipped. Thompson will on Sunday afternoon line up on the left wing against Canterbury, one of his former clubs, and is grateful to play in the NRL each week.
If he has it his way, Thompson will continue to punch above his weight and land a new two-year deal. Thompson has had one-year deals at the Tigers for the past two seasons but would love something longer term, especially at a club where “there are no egos”.
“Hopefully I can let my performances do the talking,” Thompson said. "I came back from England, the Tigers signed me for a year, then re-signed me for another year.
"I really want that two-year deal, three years would be unbelievable. The club have spoken to my management and they said they enjoy what I bring to the team.
"But it’s only round three. So much can happen. If they don’t want me I will have to go somewhere else. I do love the Tigers. I love the boys here. There are no egos, and even the boys who have played more than 100 first-grade games and aren’t in the team at the moment, they all support the team.
"The coaching staff all have our backs and will tell us the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it.
“I’ve never dealt with idiots who think they’re better than you, but I’ve also never been at a club where every single top-30 player genuinely wants the best for each other.”
The Tigers might not have a roster jam-packed with superstars, but it’s their will to win and ability to dig in for each other that has delivered two wins from as many starts.
Coach Michael Maguire will make sure complacency does not creep in when hosting the struggling Bulldogs.
Thompson, who played round one in his preferred fullback position, then bagged a double on the left wing against the Warriors, is keen to build on his left-edge combination with Rob Jennings. If the coach wants me to play lock I’ll play it if it means I’m in the team," he said. "No matter where I play, we have so many of the senior players here who are always talking and supporting me.
“I grew up playing fullback and enjoy it and the involvement. But I also like getting those cut-out balls and putting them over in the corner.”
Thompson has settled just down the road from Sunday afternoon’s venue with his partner and two dogs and is also about to commence a PE teaching degree at university. He played with the Bulldogs for several seasons, including the 2014 grand final, before he went to England and played with Widnes where he met Tigers’ assistant Brett Hodgson.
The 28-year-old is often referred to as ‘‘Tubsy’’ and mistaken for Tigers teammate Luke Brooks.
Thompson has a healthy respect for his Bulldogs opposite number Reimis Smith who he crossed paths with last season and praised his strength and ability to offload late