The Canterbury Bulldogs look to have already made a move for 2024, with the club confirming they have secured the services of Bronson Xerri on a two-year deal that will begin following the completion of his drug-related suspension.
Fresh from welcoming the likes of Viliame Kikau and Reed Mahoney, as well as new coach Cameron Ciraldo, the Bulldogs will gradually welcome Xerri back to the NRL fold as he approaches the end of his ban in November 2023.
"The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs would like to confirm the club has issued a playing contract to Bronson Xerri for the 2024 and 2025 NRL Season," the club said in a release immediately following the news being reported by Channel 9's Danny Weidler.
"The club is continuing to work with the NRL Integrity Unit to ensure full compliance is undertaken, before Bronson is able to return to the sport in November 2023."
Xerri was handed a four-year ban after the NRL's anti-doping tribunal found his actions to be ‘grossly negligent' following a positive drug test in November 2019. The sample found a number of performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone.
Prior to his ban Xerri had developed a fearsome reputation for his combination of speed and strength, scoring 13 tries in 22 appearances during his first and only season in the NRL so far.
BREAKING: The Bulldogs build up continues. Expect the club to announce a two year deal with Bronson Xerri. The former Shark will sign on for 24/25 after returning from his drug suspension @9NewsSyd @NRLonNine
— Danny Weidler (@Danny_Weidler) December 2, 2022
Xerri accepted his ban when it was handed down, revealing that he would tell his side of the story at some future point and claiming that it was ‘not what everyone thinks'.
He recently made headlines after posting some heavily bulked-up images on social media, showcasing a change in his physiology that led some to believe he'd be returning to the game to play second-row.
These claims have since been refuted, with Xerri maintaining his desire to play in the centres, although the possibility of versatility would surely only aid his hopes.
Xerri's management was unavailable for comment when contacted by ZeroTackle, prior to the club's confirmation.