The Canterbury Bulldogs are reportedly under enormous pressure to retain Paul Alamoti with the North Queensland Cowboys reportedly meeting the young gun.

The gun centre, who is off-contract at the end of the year, could ultimately look for a way out of the club with the blue and white having an overloaded backline heading into 2024.

Canterbury, who already have back five options Josh Addo-Carr, Reece Hoffman, Jacob Kiraz, Hayze Perham and Jeral Skelton under contract for 2024, will also welcome Stephen Crichton and Bronson Xerri to the club, with development player Jordan Samrani also to be promoted to the top 30.

That has left the currently off-contract Jake Averillo and Paul Alamoti scrambling for their futures.

Averillo told Zero Tackle during the week that he wants to stay at the Bulldogs, while News Corp are reporting that Alamoti has met with the Cowboys.

It's reported that the Bulldogs are still 'confident' of retaining Alamoti at this stage, but whether he will take the chance of playing second-fiddle at Belmore remains to be seen.

While Crichton's addition is likely to see him take the number one jumper, it's Xerri who will be in the fight for a centre position alongside the impressive Skelton.

The Bulldogs may only be able to re-sign one of Averillo and Alamoti with salary cap issues also causing headaches, and a move to North Queensland could suit either player.

The Cowboys will lose Peta Hiku at the end of the season to Hull KR, with the New Zealand international moving to take up what could be the final contract of his career where he has been promised a fullback jersey.

Outside of that, the Cowboys desperately need a freshen-up after a horror start, particularly defensively, to the 2023 campaign.

Todd Payten, who himself is under pressure, would be of little doubt that a player of Alamoti's stature would do just that, while other clubs are reportedly keeping an eye on the situation.