An ex-NRL journeyman who spent time with the Canberra Raiders, St George Illawarra Dragons and Manly Sea Eagles has decided to return to rugby league.

After last playing rugby league in 2021 for St Helens in the Super League and the NRL in 2020, Joel Thompson has agreed to terms with a new club, cementing his return to the sport.

Thompson has decided to sign with his local club, the Currumbin Eagles, in the Rugby League Gold Coast competition.

Unexpectedly, he hilariously ran into Eagles coach and former NRL player Matt Geyer and revealed that he was dying to return to the 13-man code.

“It's funny, I ran into Matt (Geyer) a few times while on a walk and we got chatting and I told him I wanted to play again,” Thompson told Gold Coast Bulletin.

“Then I decided to come down to training and try it out.

“I have only heard wonderful things about Currumbin and living in the area, I thought I would be foolish to not go there.

“They have been so welcoming already and it has been a lot of fun just to have a run around.

“What Matt has done for that club already and the way he wants to go about it is just another reason why I went down to the club.”

GLADSTONE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 08: Joel Thompson of Manly is tackled by Kevin Proctor of the Titans during the round five NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Manly Sea Eagles at Marley Brown Oval on April 8, 2018 in Gladstone, Australia. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

Debuting in the NRL for the Canberra Raiders in 2008, the second-rower and centre played 235 first-grade games for three different clubs - Raiders (89 games), Dragons (86 games) and Sea Eagles (60 games).

His representative honours include being a seven-time Indigenous All-Star, a member of the Australian Schoolboys in 2006 and Junior Kangaroos in 2007 and playing for Country Origin twice in 2011 and 2015.

“The one thing I wish I had have told myself back then was to make sure I listen more to the older guys of the game,” Thompson added.

“And I hope I can help the younger guys who are coming through the Eagles those types of life lessons.

“Outside of league I do a lot of work with youth centres and helping them find jobs and career paths.

“I have told Matt and the club that I will be on the road a fair bit.

“But they know I want to play footy and I think it will be good for my family to see me playing again.”