Bodene Thompson joins Warrington as Leigh exodus begins

Leigh Centurions owner Derek Beaumont Credit: Press Association.

The sale of former New Zealand Warriors forward Bodene Thompson to Warrington is set to mark the start of a major exodus of players from Leigh.

The Centurions have given up hope of regaining their Super League spot for 2019 and have opted to cut their losses by parting company with their top earners, who have all been told they are free to find new clubs.

Thompson, 29, who also played in the NRL for Gold Coast and Wests Tigers, became the first player to officially depart, signing a contract to the end of the season with double-chasing Warrington.

Widnes and Hull KR, both looking to bolster their squads ahead of their battle for Super League survival in the Qualifiers, have agreed deals with four players, while former Hull second rower Jordan Thompson is thought to be on his way to Leeds and Castleford are heading the queue for full-back Peter Matu'utia.

Club captain Harrison Hansen will be a prize capture for Widnes, along with former Toronto skipper Craig Hall, while ex-Hull and Castleford centre Ben Crooks and former Leeds hooker Liam Hood will make the move to Hull KR.

All seven players were in the Leigh team that beat Swinton 50-24 in the Betfred Championship last Sunday.

The win was not enough to lift the Centurions into the top four and, with only one round remaining, those positions are unlikely to change this weekend.

Leigh Sports Village Stadium Credit: Press Association

Thompson joins a Warrington side that is 80 minutes away from the Challenge Cup final and contending for second spot in Super League.

"The opportunity arose to come here and Warrington is up there as one of the top clubs in Super League so it was a no-brainer really when I got the call," Thompson said.

"I'm looking forward to the next couple of months; it's going to be big step up but I know that and I need to make sure I come here and bring my best, work hard and do all I can for the team."

Warrington coach Steve Price said: "I've followed Bodene's career closely. He is a player who comes with a high work rate and people I trust in the game speak very highly of his professionalism.

"I see him playing a big part in our team over the back end of the season as he has the ability to play in the middle and also on the edge. We look forward to welcoming Bodene into the squad."