The Bulldogs are within touching distance of solving their long-running salary cap woes via a player swap with Canberra.
Canterbury is poised to release rookie fullback Brad Abbey to the Raiders, in exchange for hard-tackling forward Clay Priest.
The trade will save Canterbury valuable salary cap space for 2018, given Abbey – who has played just four NRL games – was on a relatively healthy deal at Belmore.
Priest, 28, is a favourite of new Bulldogs coach Dean Pay, who has worked with him in Canberra for the past two years.
It’s understood the swap could be finalised in the coming days and will draw the Bulldogs very close to compliance for next year, thus allowing star signings Kieran Foran and Aaron Woods to be formally registered.
Further exemptions around long-serving player allowances will also help their situation – and save the club from having to farewell other players in the wake of props Sam Kasiano (Storm) and James Graham (Dragons) moving on.
There’s been speculation that Brett Morris could switch to South Sydney, but that won’t be necessary should the cards fall in Canterbury’s favour.
However, the club might still allow the veteran winger to pursue a longer term deal given he’s current contract is heavily back-ended.
The Rabbitohs are chasing an outside back after losing Aaron Gray (Sharks) and Bryson Goodwin (Warrington), while Hymel Hunt has been shopped to rival clubs.