In a two-team race between the Bulldogs and Dragons, a favourite has emerged to sign Cronulla Sharks utility back Connor Tracey.

A versatile player, Tracey has been currently stuck behind the likes of Ronaldo Mulitalo and Sione Katoa on the wing, Siosifa Talakai and Jesse Ramien in the centres, and Braydon Trindall and Nicho Hynes in the halves at the Sharks.

This has reportedly seen him ask for a release "a few times" from the Sharks, per News Corp's Brent Read.

Having already garnered the interest of Shane Flanagan and the Dragons due to the lack of fullback options at the club, News Corp has reported that the Bulldogs have entered the race to sign him and are now the favourites.

Off-contract at the end of next season - one year remaining on his current deal - it has been understood that the Sharks have given him permission to explore his options on the open market.

The publication is also reporting that the Bulldogs are hoping to convince the Shire-based side to let him leave 12 months ahead of his current contract. However, the Sharks would most likely want some form of compensation.

The reports come after a proposed deal between Canterbury and former Sydney Roosters prop Sio Siua Taukeiaho collapsed due to the forward needing to undergo surgery for a foot injury.

It is understood that the club has also given former club captain Raymond Faitala-Mariner permission to explore his options on the open market and allow him to leave the club if he finds a new one.