TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 09: Moses Mbye of the Bulldogs is tackled by Lachlan Coote of the Cowboys during the round nine NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Canterbury Bulldogs at 1300SMILES Stadium on May 9, 2015 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Bulldogs fullback Moses Mbye is set to join the Wests Tigers next season on a lucrative four-year deal, but his Canterbury teammates expect him play out the 2018 season at Belmore.

The 7-6 Tigers are vying to bring Mbye over as early as possible, who are currently sitting ninth and searching for their first finals campaign since 2011, but he would first require an early release from the Bulldogs.

But Bulldogs centre Will Hopoate would like to see Mbye stick around to help boost the side in the second half of the season, who are currently sitting on three wins from 12 games.

“That’s a decision in Moey’s hands but from what we know his time at the Tigers begins in 2019,” Hopoate told nrl.com.

“Moey addressed us as a team and he told us personally before he made it all official in the media. That’s the world rugby league is, players come and go.

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“He’s told us all his effort and energy is into playing for Canterbury for the remainder of the season.

“We’re going to need him at the back end of this season.”

Cantebury rookie Rhyse Martin said the club was happy for Mbye and understood how hard the decision was for the 24-year old, but also expected him to see out his current deal.

“As far as I know he’s here for the rest of the year,” Martin told nrl.com.

“We don’t want Moses to go but we’re happy for him and he said he’s going to do his best for the rest of the year and no doubt he will.

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“We all understand what you have to do sometimes but we’re supportive. It would have been a hard decision for him, he’s been here since a young kid.”

After bursting onto the scene this month with an impressive NRL debut, Martin’s playing future is also clouded, but he said he was happy at Canterbury.

“It would make it a lot easier [to stay],” Martin said.

“I love the club and it’s been a great place for me over the past two years. I’m trying to focus on playing in the NRL and giving myself the best opportunity.

“I haven’t really thought about [my future]. The last month for me has been about trying to perform and staying up there. I forgot about being off contract all together to be honest.”