Another club has exited the race for the services of Stefano Utoikamanu after he was granted permission from the Wests Tigers to explore his options.

The prop is contracted at the Wests Tigers until the end of the 2025 season but has clauses in his contract that allow him to test the open market at the end of this season.

This would see CEO Shane Richardson confirm that he was cleared to officially negotiate with rival clubs, despite a multi-million dollar offer from the Tigers still being on the table - the club hasn't ruled out the idea of retaining Utoikamanu.

Speaking to News Corp, St George Illawarra Dragons coach Shane Flanagan has confirmed that the club have decided to pull out of the race for Stefano Utoikamanu.

This comes after he previously confirmed less than a week ago that the Dragons were interested in his services from the beginning of next season.

“There's no denying Stefano is a wonderful talent, but so that we don't waste anyone's time we've opted to turn our focus elsewhere both internally and externally,'' Dragons coach Shane Flanagan told the publication.

NRL Rd 1 - Raiders v Wests Tigers
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 14: Stefano Utoikamanu of the Tigers in action during the round one NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Wests Tigers at GIO Stadium, on March 14, 2021, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

While the Dragons have ruled themselves out of the race for the NSW Blues front-rower, the Melbourne Storm remain the heavy favourites, with the Canberra Raiders on their tail for his signature.

The Storm have already reached out to Utoikamanu's management to sign him for 2025, while the Raiders are believed to have offered him a major offer worth around $1 million per season.

It is understood that the Dolphins are also monitoring his situation closely due to Jesse Bromwich's retirement and the uncertain playing future of QLD Maroons star forward Thomas Flegler.

The Bulldogs are also monitoring the situation closely but don't want to get into a bidding war with a rival club due to the pending arrival of Tom Amone from the Super League.

The Brisbane Broncos, Cronulla Sharks, Penrith Panthers and Sydney Roosters will not entertain the idea of signing him.