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Raiders winger Nic Cotric.

Canterbury's chief recruitment target Nick Cotric faces a critical call on whether he will join the Bulldogs despite not knowing who would coach him at Belmore as Canberra look to bring his contract talks to a head by the end of this week. understands that the Raiders, wary of Cotric's negotiations dragging on at a critical time for the club, want an answer on their five-year, $2.5 million offer to Cotric in the next few days.

There is no ultimatum or threat of the deal being pulled and neither club has made an official statement regarding Cotric.

But Canberra's stance comes with all bets off at the Bulldogs following Dean Pay's exit on Tuesday morning and Trent Barrett shaping as his desired successor.

Canterbury has tabled its own lucrative three-year offer to Cotric, believed to worth around $1.8 million with the added carrot of moving from wing to centre suggested to the NSW and Kangaroos flyer.

But while the Bulldogs will push to lock in their coach for 2021 as soon as possible, a definitive call is not expected to come this week.

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Barrett is understood to be interested in taking charge at Canterbury, but will take his time to consider any role given the success he is enjoying as a Panthers assistant and the instability around the Bulldogs board.

Canterbury has a well-documented, multi-million dollar spending spree planned for 2021 having finally shaken off the salary cap restrictions of recent years.

The club's new coach will have money to spend but so far Luke Thompson has been the Bulldogs only big-name signing having recently missed out on Canberra's John Bateman.

As with any coaching change, the playing roster comes under the microscope and the Bulldogs have the likes of Kieran Foran, Adam Elliott and Aidan Tolman leading their off-contract list.

Extension talks have begun with all three, while back-rower Raymond Faitala-Mariner is close to completing a two-year deal and young half Brandon Wakeham has been in talks around a similar extension for some time.

Foran has been frank on his future, acknowledging he is facing a serious pay cut on his current contract, which is worth the best part of $1 million this year.

Whether an incoming coach sees the 30-year-old as part of Canterbury's future remains to be seen.

Elliott has also fielded keen rival interest before going down with a season-ending shoulder injury, with the Bulldogs likely to have to up their current offer to hang onto him next season.

Calls will also have to be made on the futures of reinstated pair Corey Harawira-Naera and Jayden Okunbor, who successfully appealed their deregistration by the NRL on Monday.

Bulldogs winger Jayden Okunbor.
Bulldogs winger Jayden Okunbor. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

As it stands they are both contracted to the Bulldogs but Harawira-Naera has been on the radar of rival NRL clubs.

The Bulldogs made clear at the time of their support for the pair's deregistration, declaring that their behaviour, when they were embroiled in a pre-season incident, "will simply not be tolerated."

Meanwhile, young centre Morgan Harper has been granted an early release to join Manly immediately having already signed with the Sea Eagles for 2021.

Former Bulldog Tim Lafai is also in talks about a return to Belmore for the rest of this season having fallen out of favour at the Dragons.

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