NRL Rd 8 - Bulldogs v Rabbitohs
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 05: Luke Thompson of the Bulldogs smiles during the round eight NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Bankwest Stadium on July 05, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Luke Thompson's on-field absence for the Canterbury Bulldogs isn't about to be ending, with the revelation that he has returned to the United Kingdom to attend to a personal family matter.

Thompson, who began his season from the bench for the Bulldogs following an off-season of speculation regarding his future at the club - and whether there was one - returned to the starting team for Round 4 and played there through to his final game in Round 12.

He hasn't been sighted on field since, and left for the United Kingdom in an emotional state on Friday, according to a Sydney Morning Herald report.

His failure to play since Round 12 and returning home are not linked however, with Thompson suffering a concussion during the loss at Belmore to the St George Illawarra Dragons.

He had failed to pass through the necessary concussion protocols to return to playing.

The report states that the Bulldogs won't rush him to return, although they are currently expecting him to return to Australia at some point this season.

Canterbury director of football Phil Gould said the club felt it was "the right time" for Thompson to make a trip home, having not returned since he first arrived in Australia.

“Luke has not seen his family for a couple of years and we felt it important he returns home now during this difficult time," Gould said.

"He is to return to Australia on July 8th, but much will depend on how things play outback home.

“Some things in life are just far more important than football.”

Should Thompson return on July 8, it means he would be back on field following the Bulldogs' bye, missing a game against the Cronulla Sharks before returning against the South Sydney Rabbitohs, with that match not scheduled until July 17.


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