19 hours ago
Lance Thompson and Dragons go their
Forward Lance Thompson and the St George Illawarra Dragons parted ways tonight, reportedly by mutual agreement.
A veteran of over 200 games with the Dragons, Thompson met with officials at St George Leagues Club and emerged almost two-and-a-half hours later to face the media.
Thompson's legal representative Chris Murphy said terms had been agreed and Thompson would be leaving the club.
"We've agreed on terms," Murphy said.
"The Club indicates that the player's obligations under his playing contract during the period of that contract to today's date were discharged by him to the satisfaction of the club.
"The matter has been resolved and settled and Lance is available for a new club next year."
On October 7, Thompson left a Dragons awards function, claiming he had been told he played his last game with the club.
A St George junior, Thompson still had one more year to run on his contract. But salary cap concerns and a much publicised falling out with Dragons Chief Executive Peter Doust saw matters come to a head.
Claims, allegations and a media circus followed, culminating in a letter being sent to Thompson asking him to show cause why he should not be dismissed for misconduct.
This afternoon, Thompson expressed relief that the issue had finally been dealt with.
"I'm happy it's all over and done with," Thompson said.
"I'm pretty happy with the outcome so I can move on and obviously look to brighter pastures."
The St George Illawarra club later issued a brief statement:
"The St George Illawarra Dragons and Lance Thompson have today agreed to terminate his 2006 playing contract on terms mutually agreeable to both parties," the statement said.
"The parties also agreed that the terms of the agreement would remain confidential."
Lance Thompson Media File: Born: 16 Feb 1978, Sydney.
Junior club: Hurstville United.
Dragons First Grade: 1995-2005, 201 appearances. 24 tries, 17 goals (130 points).
First Grade debut: Saints v Cronulla at Caltex Field, June 24, 1995. Thompson aged 17-years-old. Early in his career, Thompson declared his passion as a true clubman when he once exclaimed, "I would die for St George."
Thompson played in 1996 and 1999 grand finals.
In 2000, Thompson was involved in a fight with fellow forward Andrew Hart at St George Leagues Club. Thompson (fined $15,000 by the club) later apologised to Hart, the club, his family and the fans. Hart (fined $5000) was reported to be just as keen to put the incident behind him.
Thompson took a pay cut in 2003 so the club could re-sign other star players under the salary cap. Also in 2003, Thompson donated $10,000 to the St George Junior League. In November of the same year, Thompson entered the boxing ring in a charity bout to raise funds for the St George Foundation and the Children?s Hospital at Randwick.
In 2004, Thompson was dropped to the Premier League after showing up to training under the influence of alcohol. Personal matters aside, Thompson was again facing disciplinary action from the club. He bounced back however, and following a series of stand-out performances, the star forward was named in NSW's 30-man State of Origin train-on squad.
In 2005, Thompson was in top form, scoring seven tries and playing in every game for the Dragons.