The St George Illawarra Dragons are reportedly in pursuit of Bulldogs' back Will Hopoate.

First reported by Phil Rothfield for The Daily Telegraph, the Dragons are said to be in talks with Hopoate for an immediate switch to Wollongong. The deal is expected to be for both the remainder of this season, and next season.

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The move would, at this stage, make little sense for either club though, with the Bulldogs already slightly short on outside backs, and the Dragons having an over-abundance of youngsters making their way through the grades.

Despite that, it was said to be well in progress before the injury to Cotric, which has stalled things.

The situation at Canterbury is bordering on horrendous. Trent Barrett's side conceded 66 points on the weekend against the Manly Sea Eagles. However, with Nick Cotric injured for the season, and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak released to the New Zealand Warriors last week, options are thin for the blue and white.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 09: Nick Cotric of the Bulldogs and his team mates looks dejected after a try during the round nine NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Canterbury Bulldogs at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, on May 09, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

While Aaron Schoupp is currently in isolation for a COVID breach, the Bulldogs had youngsters Falakiko Manu and Tuipulotu Katoa among their back five for the weekend, while Nick Meaney and Corey Allan were the other two alongside Hopoate. In an incredibly inexperienced back five, Canterbury can ill-afford to be giving more players away, particularly when they come with the experience of Hopoate.

The Dragons, on the other hand, have Zac Lomax ready to return from injury, with the experienced Gerard Beale brought to the club mid-season to bolster their own ranks. With Tyrell Sloan and the Feagai brothers - both Matt and Max - pushing for first-grade spots, as well as Mikaele Ravalawa, Jordan Pereira, Jack Bird, Cody Ramsey and Brayden Williame in the mix, there is little need for the Dragons to be shopping for outside backs.

WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 26: Cody Ramsey of the Dragons celebrates with Corey Norman of the Dragons after scoring a try, which was then disallowed by the video referee, during the round three NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles at WIN Stadium on March 26, 2021, in Wollongong, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The Red V are currently being investigated for a breach of biosecurity protocols and will next play the Manly Sea Eagles following a bye. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, will have to front up in the split round to play the similarly struggling Cronulla Sharks.