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Former St George Illawarra forward Lance Thompson has agreed to terms and has signed a one-year agreement to play the 2006 season with the Cronulla Sharks.
The 27-year-old Thompson formalised his deal with the Sharks by signing a contract at Sharkies Leagues club today, in the company of Sharks General Manager Steve Rogers, coach Stuart Raper and Sharks Chairman Barry Pierce.
?This will be the start of a new chapter for me at the Sharks and I?m going to train hard, play hard and give it my best,? Thompson said.
?I?ve always had a lot of respect for the Sharks club and its players, the semi final we played against them last year was one of our toughest games all year, so I?m looking forward to playing alongside some of those guys.?
With the departure and retirement of a couple of key forwards, Thompson is being viewed by the Sharks as the perfect addition to a pack which will next year also include Queensland State of Origin prop Ben Ross.
Rogers, in announcing the new signing, didn?t rule out the prospect of Thompson moving from his preferred position of back row into the front row as a replacement for the likes of Jason Stevens and Danny Nutley.
?Stuart (Raper) and Lance spoke about the prospect of Lance playing in the front row and neither of them had any doubt he could handle the move,? Rogers said. ?The way he plays I?m sure he could play either position.?
Sharks coach Raper was also enthusiastic about the prospect of being able to call on Thompson?s skill and experience next season.
?I thought he was one of St George?s best forwards last year so there?s no doubt Lance has got plenty of good football left in him,? Rogers said. ?I?m sure he?ll fit in very well with us here at the Sharks.?
While only signing a one-year deal, Sharks General Manager Steve Rogers explained that the club would review Thompson?s future mid season, with the view to possibly extending his contract beyond 2006.
Thompson will train privately during the next two weeks, following a program put together by Sharks strength and conditioning coach Trent Elkin, before formally starting training with the Sharks on December 12.
?I?m going to try to clear my head after all that has gone on recently, I?ll go to Perth to support my good mate Choc (Anthony Mundine) before his next fight and I?ll do some hard training of my own before I start with the Sharks,? Thompson said.
The entire Sharks squad will be taking a short break from pre-season preparations