The Bulldogs have launched another raid on Manly’s playing ranks, targeting teenage superstar William Hopoate to counter the loss of Jamal Idris to the Gold Coast.
The Sunday Telegraph has learned that Hopoate met with Bulldogs coach Kevin Moore and the club’s recruitment guru Peter Mulholland at Homebush last Tuesday.
Idris signed a five-year deal with the Titans last week.
Hopoate, 18, is among a list of more than 25 stars, collectively worth $7.5 million, still on the open market for next season.
The Bulldogs are not the only club to enter the race for Hopoate, with premiers St George Illawarra also in the hunt for a solution to the anticipated departure of fullback Darius Boyd.
Despite the threat, Manly remain confident of retaining the fullback, whose father John made the Hopoate name famous at the Sea Eagles.
“From our point of view, we’re not surprised that other clubs have shown interest in William Hopoate,” Manly coach Des Hasler said.
The Bulldogs snuck under the Sea Eagles’ guard last season to poach outstanding young halfback Trent Hodkinson and are hoping to tempt Hopoate to Belmore on a three-year deal.
The Sunday Telegraph can also reveal that the club is a whisker away from announcing the signature of English international prop James Graham for the next three seasons.
Bulldogs chief executive Todd Greenberg has also confirmed the club’s intention to remain active in the marketplace.