The Courier-Mail

BUDDY’S HELL

- ANDREW HAMILTON

GOLD Coast and key defender Rory Thompson have made a breakthrou­gh in their yearlong contract negotiatio­ns, with a new deal poised to be announced.

The Suns had been at loggerhead­s with the local junior over his asking price of $500,000.

But Thompson’s manager Liam Pickering flew to the Coast last week, where a round of discussion­s broke the dead- lock. Thompson informed the club on Saturday that he intended to recommit.

The Suns would not comment on the deal but he is expected to earn between $375,000 and $400,000 a year.

The departures of Charlie Dixon and Harley Bennell have delayed the deal, but it will be signed before Thompson leaves for holidays after the club championsh­ips.

Brisbane, meanwhile, have moved closer to finding a home for restricted free agent Matthew Leuenberge­r with Fremantle emerging as a genuine suitor.

Leuenberge­r has also attracted interest from the Swans and was in Sydney meeting officials yesterday.

High-jumper turned Gold Coast Sun Josh Hall will embark on his third elite sport after signing with the NRL’s Penrith Panthers.

Hall managed seven games in four years for the Suns before being delisted yesterday.

The Panthers immediatel­y announced he had agreed to a two-year deal.

The 25-year-old was born in Townsville and grew up playing rugby league before going on to a high jump career. He claimed bronze at the 2007 world junior championsh­ips with a personal best of 2.26m.

He tried his hand at AFL and was signed as a rookie by the Suns in 2012 before being elevated in 2014.

Panthers general manager Phil Gould said Hall was determined to secure a position in

Put the football to one side. We need to understand and respect this is a challenge for him to deal with every day ... he’s got the best possible help and support. It is an issue in sport, it is an issue in the AFL, it is an issue in the community

SWANS COACH JOHN LONGMIRE

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 ??  ?? RE-SIGN: Rory Thompson will stay at the Suns.
RE-SIGN: Rory Thompson will stay at the Suns.

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