Wests Tigers fullback Corey Thompson is poised to make a shock switch to Penrith in a move that will further escalate tensions between the clubs.
The Herald can reveal Thompson is set to take up a two-year deal with the Panthers after rejecting the offer made by the joint-venture outfit. The diminutive fullback-winger is one of the most underrated players in the game, but has quickly become a favourite with Tigers fans for his whole-hearted performances.
In a testament to how highly he is rated, coach Michael Maguire named him at fullback for the win against North Queensland despite initially buying captain Moses Mbye to fill the position. It was widely expected Thompson would re-sign with the Tigers, but the former Bulldog is set to take up a late offer from the western rivals. Panthers coach Ivan Cleary is a big fan of the 29-year-old from their time working together at Concord. Cleary convinced Thompson to join him at the foot of the mountains after a series of secret talks.
There is no love lost between the clubs after Cleary left the Tigers for Penrith despite still having two years to run on his contract. Thompson’s deal represents the first time since then that the teams have engaged in a battle for the signature of an incumbent player.
In a recent interview with the Herald, Thompson said he was looking for the security of a two-year deal after signing a series of one-season contracts.
“The first two-year deal I had was at the very start at the Bulldogs,” he said.
“I’m really working hard for a two-year deal. I think it’s a bit hard on the mind, just playing one-year deals, when you are always off contract.
“Last year I was lucky, I re-signed in April so it was pretty much a two-year deal. I just want to work hard and show I’m an asset to the team.”