Corey Thompson: Widnes Vikings winger to return to Australia in 2018
Widnes Vikings winger Corey Thompson will return to his native Australia next season after activating a release clause in his contract.
Thompson joined Widnes from Canterbury Bulldogs in 2016 and was their leading try scorer in his debut season.
He has not confirmed a deal with a National Rugby League club but will stay at Widnes for the rest of 2017.
The 26-year-old said he had "loved" his time at Widnes but wanted "to be closer to family and friends."
"The Vikings supporters have been brilliant with me during my stay, and I cannot thank them enough for their support," Thompson said.
"To score 27 tries in my debut season here was absolutely fantastic. It is an achievement that I am proud of, and to do it in a Vikings team that recorded the club's best ever position in the Super League made it even better.
"I will continue to give my all for the club for the remainder of 2017 before heading back to Australia for the next stage in my career."
The Brisbane-born winger has scored three tries this season for Widnes who are bottom of Super League after 12 games.
Widnes head coach Denis Betts said: "I would like to wish Corey and his family the best of luck for the future and thank him for his service to the Vikings.
"This is a decision that the club was not expecting. However, this now frees up a quota space for us to utilise and strengthen the squad in 2018.
"I have no doubt that Corey will continue to work hard for this club for the rest of this season."