Thompson leaves Dragons for Manly in NRL

Dec 22, 2017 - 4:07 AM Manly have signalled they won't be hog-tied by their NRL salary cap saga, signing classy back-rower Joel Thompson.

St George Illawarra on Friday released Thompson from the final year of his contract to take up a two-year deal with the Sea Eagles.

It represents the Sea Eagles' first major signing since being accused of salary cap rorting by the NRL.

Manly are fighting allegations they broke third party rules to bolster players' salaries and face the prospect of a heavy fine as well as operating with a reduced cap next year.

They have been accused of making financial promises to players outside the salary cap and, if proven, the club will have the value of those deals saddled onto their salary cap for next year.

The club has been granted until January to respond to the NRL's claims.

It was believed the proposed salary cap penalty was set to roadblock their hopes of signing a replacement for five-eighth Blake Green and being active in the marketplace during the off-season.

However, Thompson's signing flies in the face of that.

An NRL spokesman said the governing body had not yet received a copy of Thompson's contract so it had not been approved.

"It is up to Manly to be salary cap compliant when the competition begins next year," the spokesman said.

The Sea Eagles could yet be forced to offload players if they incur a salary cap penalty next year.

After missing out on Matt Moylan and Mitchell Pearce, Thompson's signing is a feather in the cap of coach Trent Barrett and his staff.

"Joel is a player I have admired for a long time. I coached him in the (NSW) Country team a couple of years ago," Barrett said.

"Not only is Joel a terrific bloke and a terrific leader but he is extremely competitive and very tough. He is a professional.

"Joel has played plenty of first-grade and his experience is something I thought our squad needed.

"Not only will the team benefit from it but also a lot of our young individuals will benefit too from having someone like Joel around."

Source: AAP

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