MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 14: Bailey Simonsson of the Raiders is tackled during the NRL Qualifying Final match between the Melbourne Storm and the Canberra Raiders at AAMI Park on September 14, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The Canterbury Bulldogs' decision on Nick Cotric could be set to trigger a three-club transfer for the 2022 season.

It has been widely reported during the week that Cotric could be a casualty at Belmore, with the club desperately trying to balance their salary cap.

While they have already made numerous high-profile signings for the 2022 season, including Tevita Pangai Junior, Matt Burton, Matt Dufty, Paul Vaughan and Josh Addo-Carr among others, it's the signings for 2023 in the recent days which could push the club to breaking point.

Viliame Kikau and Reed Mahoney are both almost certain to join the club for 2023, with the Fijian second-rower photographed in a Bulldogs' jersey, and Mahoney reportedly agreeing to a four-year deal with Trent Barrett's side.

It means the Bulldogs need to do even more roster shaking in an attempt to get their house in order, and Cotric - who is on big money - departing, could well be the answer.

It had been reported the former Raiders winger could be set for a return to the nation's capital, with his manager Sam Ayoub reportedly spotted in Canberra on Tuesday.

Should he return, it would mean the first-choice back five in Canberra for 2022 features Xavier Savage at fullback, Cotric and Jordan Rapana on the wings, and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad with either Jarrod, Croker, Matt Timoko or Sebastian Kris in the centres.

NRL Rd 9 - Raiders v Storm
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JULY 11: Nick Cotric of the Raiders scores a try during the round nine NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Melbourne Storm at GIO Stadium on July 11, 2020 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

What it also would mean is that all of Bailey Simonsson, Harley Smith-Shields, Semi Valemei and the two missing the centre battle would miss out on the first-grade team altogether.

The Raiders seem to have found one answer though, with Simonsson set to join the Parramatta Eels, effective immediately if Cotric moves back to Canberra, according to a Daily Telegraph report.

The Eels are desperate for an outside back following the departure of Blake Ferguson. At this stage, Haze Dunster and Maika Sivo will be their starting wingers with very little in the way of back up or depth in their top 30.

The signing of Simonsson would be an excellent one for the Eels given their shortage, but also given the skills of Simonsson, who deserves to be a regular first-grader - something he would be in Canberra if the signing of Cotric falls through.

It's understood how much the Bulldogs would be willing to contribute to Cotric's wage on a move back to Canberra will ultimately dictate where the one-time New South Wales representative plays in 2022.

The report suggests the Bulldogs are only willing to pay around $150,000 - a number well short of what the Raiders require.

However, it's also reported that Simonsson would be happy to join the Eels with a move back to Sydney putting him closer to family.

Follow Zero Tackle on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more of the latest rugby league news.