MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 14: Corey Thompson (R) celebrates the win during the NRL 2nd Elimination Final match between the Melbourne Storm and the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs at AAMI Park on September 14, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Former Bulldogs winger Corey Thompson is set to return to the NRL next season after activating a release clause in his contract with the Widnes Vikings.

Thompson joined Widnes from Canterbury Bulldogs in 2016 and was their leading try scorer in his debut season.

Although there has been no official announcement yet on a return to the NRL, speculation has already started with the Wests Tigers rumoured to be interested.

“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.”

Widnes coach Denis Betts admitted Thompson’s decision came as a surprise.

Betts said: “Firstly, 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.”

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