SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 15: Ben Hunt of the Dragons scores a try during the NRL Semi Final match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the St George Illawarra Dragons at ANZ Stadium on September 15, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Following the emergence of several sides in the running for his signature, the St. George Illawarra Dragons have increased their offer to star halfback Ben Hunt in a bid to retain the club's marquee man.

Hunt made the move from Red Hill to Wollongong ahead of the 2018 NRL season, leading the Red V to the finals in his first season at the club, a feat he hasn't accomplished again since.

Currently on a reported $1.25 million per season deal, Hunt is aware he'll be forced to take a pay-cut from that astronomical figure due to his age, set to turn 33 in the opening weeks of next season.

The Dally M favourite, Hunt was initially offered $700,000-a-year to remain at the club, however due to the rival interest from the Gold Coast, Canterbury, the Dolphins and more, the Dragons appear set to raise their offer by at least $100,000 per season.

Speaking on NRL360, journalist David Riccio believes the Dragons are set to snare their target.

“All my mail suggests St George Illawarra are in the box seat to extend his future by at least another two seasons. He’s not off contract next year - he’s still at the Saints in 2023 and the contract extension is related to 2024-25," Riccio said.

“I firmly believe it’s up to around $800,000 now. I think if they can get to around $800-850K I think they get the deal done. I think Hunt stays.”

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 13: Ben Hunt of the Maroons celebrates with teammates after scoring the match winning try during game three of the State of Origin Series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on July 13, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

The news comes as massive relief for St. George Illawarra fans, following reports of star recruit Jayden Su'A mulling over a release from the club to join Wayne Bennett in 2023.

Set to play his 300th NRL game midway through 2023, Hunt indicated he was content at the Dragons, and with just one regular season game left and potentially a Dally M and World Cup to win, there's no rush for the halfback to sign on.

“Every day there seems to be something popping up,” Hunt said, per AAP.

“I’ll just wait until the season’s over, I’ve only got one more week.

“We’ll get it sorted out and we’re working through it. I enjoy the club and I’m happy to stay."

St. George Illawarra officials will be eager to have their marquee player sign on the dotted line sooner rather than later, with Hunt free to talk to rivals in just two months time.