NRL Rd 4 - Bulldogs v Rabbitohs
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 02: Jack Hetherington of the Bulldogs looks on during the round four NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Stadium Australia, on April 02, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The St George Illawarra Dragons and Wests Tigers have reportedly joined the Canberra Raiders and Newcastle Knights in a four-way race for the services of Jack Hetherington in 2023.

Hetherington is technically contracted to the Bulldogs until the end of 2023, however, the final year of the deal is a mutual option.

That essentially means that if either he or the club wants out, he will be able to walk away from the deal.

It was reported earlier this week that the Raiders had turned their attention to Hetherington after news that Adam Elliott has signed with the Newcastle Knights.

While Elliott's news is not yet official, it's understood he told teammates on Monday that he would be abandoning the nation's capital - who gave him a 2022 lifeline - for the Hunter, following partner Millie Boyle, who recently signed for the club's NRLW side.

That led the Raiders to get involved in the contract tustle for Hetherington, who seems almost a certainty to leave Belmore following his recovery from an injury which has all but ended his season just weeks into the campaign.

The Raiders won't have it all their own way though, with The Daily Telegraph's David Riccio telling Triple M radio that four clubs will go hard for the forward.

“This guy is fast becoming a wanted man, mainly because of the way he plays the game, it is Jack Hetherington,” Riccio said in Triple M.

“The Bulldogs forward is off-contract and has been told he can negotiate with rival clubs, the Dragons are certainly circling.

“There is three other clubs, the Newcastle Knights, the Wests Tigers and the Canberra Raiders, now Jack’s father played for the Raiders, Brett Hetherington, so there is lineage there.

“Given Adam Elliott is off to the Newcastle Knights, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Raiders come hard.”

Hetherington has often garnered criticism for his style of play, which has often led to penalties, sin bins and suspensions, however, his ferocity, combined with a move to the second row this year which was designed to curb his trips to the sin bin and judiciary, have seen mutliple clubs express interest.

The 25-year-old Canberra-born forward began his career with the Penrith Panthers in 2018, before moving to the Bulldogs in 2021. He also spent a brief period on loan to the Warriors in 2020, and has played a total of 43 NRL games.