Photo by Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL.
Suzuki Brisbane Tigers fullback Corey Thompson, Tiger #1204, will officially hang up his boots at the end of the 2023 Hostplus Cup season.
The former NRL star called time on his professional career last year, but was coaxed back to the Hostplus Cup level by our Club for one last run around this year.
And, while some at the club were hopeful he might kick on in 2024, Thompson – an Easts Mt Gravatt Eagles junior who started his Queensland Cup career with the Tigers in 2012 – knows his time as a player has drawn to a close.
Thompson said 2023 was always going to be his last year playing for the Tigers.
“When I retired professionally, I was not going to play anymore. (The Tigers) reached out and asked if I would be keen to come back.
This is the club that sent me to do my first NRL pre-season. It was good to come back and show the young boys that they can make it from this club, but it was always going to be my last year.
I think (Cup coach Matt Church) tried to string it along a bit longer, but it was always going to be my last year.
The motivation to prepare each week and go to training three times a week, it is starting to get a bit too hard.”
Thompson played at the Tigers throughout the 2012 and 2013 seasons before he earned an NRL contract with the Canterbury Bulldogs partway through 2013.
Across his NRL career, the Brisbane product played with the Bulldogs, Wests Tigers and Gold Coast Titans, and also spent time in the UK with the Widnes Vikings.
His retirement last year was motivated by ongoing knee pain, which is something he has been able to manage a lot better at the semi-professional level, sometimes training just once a week.
But now the 33-year-old believes it is “unfair” to do so, especially with so much young talent coming through at the Tigers.
Despite his decision to finish up at the end of the Tigers’ season, Thompson has been in strong form all year and helped guide the Suzuki Brisbane Tigers towards their third-place finish at the end of the regular season.
Thompson knows the end is getting nearer, but he hopes his career will come to a close at Kayo Stadium on grand final day on 17 September.
“I think I can just play for fun every game. Every game I tick off will be the last semi-professional.
Every time I run out with the boys, I know it is getting closer. I enjoy it.
I was lucky I got to retire on my own terms last year and now coming back, I get to play with the younger boys and hopefully see them play first grade one day.
(A premiership) would be massive. I have not won a premiership for ages.”
Currently working as a coach in the Keebra Park State High School rugby league program, Thompson will next year join Church as an assistant for the Hostplus Cup side and will hope to work with the backs or as an attacking coach.
Despite some challenges keeping niggling injuries at bay, Thompson is ending the season playing some of his best football for the Tigers.
Church said he asked Thompson ‘the question’ about his future after the 2022 season, but the versatile back was adamant he wanted to stay on for 2023 and make a difference.
“A few weeks ago we made a decision to push him back to fullback, and he has probably been our best player in that period.
It is a nice story for Corey and for the club to bookend his career. It is a really nice story for us too and we are hoping to send Corey out a winner.
We know that not everyone gets that opportunity, but I feel like Corey is someone that deserves a fairytale finish.”
Read more on QRL’s website here.
Finals Week 3 (Preliminary Final): Suzuki Brisbane Tigers vs TBC @ Totally Workwear Stadium, Langlands Park – kick off TBC.
Suzuki Brisbane Tigers Home Games
Suzuki Brisbane Tigers home games are held at our redeveloped Totally Workwear Stadium, Langlands Park.
Tickets at the gate: Adults $10 | Concession $5 | Children under 15-years-old are free.
Getting to the game: It is recommended to catch public transport or get dropped off to avoid missing out on a carpark.
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