Luke Thompson is just one of four St Helens players included in Wayne Bennett’s 24-man squad to tour Tonga, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea this autumn.
Lachlan Coote, Jonny Lomax, Alex Walmsley as well as Thompson were all involved in Saints’ Grand Final winning side on Saturday and now will head out to the southern hemisphere ready for the internationals.
James Roby is the only existing Saints player to appear in the last GB tour back in 2006. Like Roby, Morgan Knowles, Tommy Makinson and try-scorer, Mark Percival, all had to withdraw from the squad through injury.
Bennett’s side will start with a trip to Hamilton to play Togan Invitational XIII before facing New Zealand twice and ending the tour with a clash against Papua New Guinea.
? The 24-man squad to take on Tonga, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea: pic.twitter.com/JsL8Socv24
— Rugby Football League ??? (@TheRFL) October 14, 2019
Thompson’s place was never in doubt. The hard-hitting prop came under immense praise over the weekend, helping Saints claim their first Super League title in five years.
After Saturday’s heroics, Justin Holbrook hailed his forward as the ‘best in the world’, after his battling performance against Salford. In a terrific 72-minute display, he made an exceptional 42 tackles and 27 carries, helping him become the first prop to win the Harry Sunderland trophy since Andy Platt in 1992.
“Not as far as I am concerned.” Said Holbrook, when asked about if there is another prop on his level at the moment.
“You just have to look at the job that he did for us tonight, it is hard to compare players but he has been brilliant all year.
“What we have done is hold him back a fair few times this year when he has been good to on, just to give some of the other players game time.
“We didn’t actually speak about how long (he would play), just waited it out but I thought he did great.”
Thompson has been a constant figure in Saints’ 2019 success. The forward has made a massive impact in Holbrook’s forward line, leading the pack with his GB compatriot, Alex Walmsley. Over the season the two have worked together to claim a massive 5,306 metres, whilst making 1019 tackles.
“It is an unbelievable feeling.” Thompson said, after claiming the man of the match.
“We have worked so hard all year as a group and we put everything into our training. It has been a long time since we have been here and I am made up to do the job for Justin [Holbrook] to send him home with some silverware.”
Picture by john under Creative Media Commons.