The Manly Sea Eagles have brushed aside their salary cap uncertainty to sign talented Dragons second-rower Joel Thompson on a two-year deal.
Thompson had a year remaining on his contract with St George-Illawarra but the lure of a longer deal proved too good to resist and the Dragons granted his release.
Manly were thought to be interested in Thompson as early as September but were perhaps distracted by mooted moves for Matt Moylan and Mitchell Pearce.
Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett said he was delighted to welcome Thompson to the northern beaches outfit.
"Joel is a player I have admired for a long time. I coached him in the Country team a couple of years ago," Barrett said.
"Not only is Joel a terrific bloke and a terrific leader but he is extremely competitive and very tough. He is a professional.
"Joel has played plenty of first grade and his experience is something I thought our squad needed. Not only will the team benefit from it but also a lot of our young individuals will benefit too from having someone like Joel around."
Manly CEO Lyall Gorman also hailed the impact Thompson's arrival would have on and off the field.
"Joel brings a strong passion and commitment through not just his on-field performances but also his off-field contribution in the community," Gorman said.
"His dedication to adding value across the community is an area to which our club is genuinely committed and one for which Joel was recently recognised through being the well-deserved recipient of the NRL Ken Stephen Medal for community service."
Manly has been granted an extension until January to mount its appeal against the breach notice issued as a result of the NRL's salary cap investigation.