Canterbury have applied for Paul Vaughan's eight-game ban to be backdated so their new recruit will line up in round one as Kyle Flanagan laughed off recent reports he could exit Belmore before then.
Vaughan will look to revive his career next season at the Bulldogs on a one-year deal after being sacked by the Dragons.
Flanagan, meanwhile, dismissed suggestions he had been shopped to Super League clubs as he plays his first game in a month after being dropped for the second time this season.
NRL.com understands Vaughan's 2022 lifeline is worth a little more than half the estimated $800,000 salary that was terminated by St George Illawarra after his ill-fated barbeque that breached NSW health guidelines amounted to his third behaviour strike at the joint venture.
Vaughan was also served a $50,000 fine and eight-game suspension for his breach of COVID-19 protocols.
Given Vaughan won't take the paddock again in the final eight rounds of this season, Canterbury have moved for his two-month ban to be counted in 2021, with a final decision on his availability still to be made by the NRL.
Vaughan said on Wednesday that "it's been killing me" to watch the Dragons struggle in the wake of suspensions handed down to his former teammates, but his focus is now on repaying the faith of Phil Gould and Trent Barrett next season.
"I've spoken to Gus and I've spoken to Trent, I've got a good relationship with Baz and I've said that I'm coming to the Bulldogs with 100 per cent commitment," Vaughan said.
"I'm highly motivated to play my best football there. I've got a lot to prove, I've got a lot of trust to win back from the squad, the coaching staff and everyone involved with the Bulldogs and the NRL.
"That's the foremost thing that I want to prove, I want to let everyone know that I'm rebuilding my image.
"It's taken a fair hit but I'm very committed to doing that and playing some good football. I'm very thankful for the opportunity the Bulldogs have given me and I intend to repay that faith as best I can."
Flanagan meanwhile gave short shrift to suggestions he will be shown the door by then.
The 22-year-old returns to Trent Barrett's line-up against the Titans on Sunday for his first game since a miserable 66-0 drubbing from Manly four weeks ago.
Barrett urges Flanagan to unearth ‘natural game’
He has been dropped twice already in his tumultuous first season at Canterbury after a sudden early exit from the Roosters and, with Matt Burton arriving in the halves next year, questions remain over his long-term future.
It's understood Super League clubs have asked the Bulldogs whether Flanagan could be on the move despite being contracted until the end of 2023, but the young half says he never took the reports seriously or sought to clarify his future at the club.
"That was a funny one ... there's nothing there," Flanagan said on Wednesday, speaking for the first time publicly since an emotional media conference in May after he was initially dropped by Barrett.
Clever kick from Katoa has Flanagan scoring
"I didn't really worry about it. Sometimes I have a bit of a laugh about some of the things that end up in the media.
"I know where I am in my football career. I'll always back my ability and I know where I stand here at the Bulldogs.
"This has been the hardest part of my career and definitely a learning curve. But I've got a lot out of it and I'm quite a positive person.
"I train hard and I had a goal of getting back in this footy team and my moment's here now."