Roster renovations are in full swing at both the Dragons and Bulldogs with Matt Dufty joining a rapidly changing Canterbury backline next season as Brayden Williame and Will Hopoate size up moves to Europe.
Dufty will take up a one-year deal with Canterbury in 2022 that gives him a chance to keep his NRL career alive after a protracted saga around his future.
Off-contract Bulldogs centre Hopoate too had been in talks about an early move to the Dragons, to the point a player-swap had been discussed by the two clubs recently.
However talks have dropped off with Hopoate understood to be close to taking up a two-year offer from Super League outfit St Helens.
No official comment on Hopoate's future has been made by Canterbury or St Helens.
Wiliame's linking with French rugby union outfit Perpignan on a three-year deal next season meanwhile only amplifies the Dragons' need for outside backs.
The Dragons are open to an immediate, pre-August 1 signing and have discussed such a move with Hopoate as they still have two open roster spots after Paul Vaughan's sacking.
Jaydn Su'A's move from Redfern on a three-year deal won't be fast-tracked as the Rabbitohs are intent on keeping him for their finals assault, while Warriors prop Jamayne Taunoa-Brown is set to reinforce Anthony Griffin's forward stocks on a three-game contract.
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Provided the Warriors get through Sunday's clash against Cronulla unscathed, Taunoa-Brown will join the Dragons on Monday and will be available for Friday's game against Manly, where several players will serve their suspensions from last weekend's COVID-19 breach.
Dufty's arrival at Belmore in 2021 continues a significant overhaul of Trent Barrett's backline stocks.
With Dufty joining recruits Josh Addo-Carr, Brent Naden and Matt Burton in blue and white next season, and Nick Meaney joining Melbourne, the Bulldogs will sport a markedly different line-up in 2022.
As questions continue to swirl around Kyle Flanagan's future after he was dropped again for Saturday's hard-fought loss to the Roosters, potentially only Nick Cotric, Corey Allan and Jake Averillo will feature in a first-choice 2022 backline at Belmore.
The club remains the front-runner to secure Tevita Pangai jnr after tabling a three-year offer from 2022 last week.
For Dufty, his one-year contract ends several months of conjecture after the Dragons told him he would not be offered a new deal.
At one point a shift to Super League looked most likely for the 25-year-old, who garnered interest from Brisbane and Canberra – touring the Raiders facilities last month – before both clubs looked elsewhere in the market.
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"Everyone knows what an exciting player Matt Dufty is and his record of scoring 44 tries in 79 matches is testimony to the attacking flair that he brings," Bulldogs CEO Aaron Warburton said.
"He is quick and elusive with valuable NRL experience, and we believe that he will be an outstanding complement to our backline for next season.
"We are continuing to create the squad that we believe can be successful for next season and beyond, and Matt will be someone who I am sure our fans will be excited to watch run out in the blue and white next year."