NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 02: Shaun Johnson of the Cronulla Sharks during the NRL Trial match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Newcastle Knights on March 02, 2019 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

There has been a "wildcard" emerge in the race for Cronulla halfback Shaun Johnson.

Johnson will depart the Shire after the Sharks told him they wouldn't be offering him anew contract. He will be joined at the exit by Josh Dugan and Aaron Woods.

The Australian’s Brent Read has named Canterbury as a "wildcard" for the signature of Johnson but admits it may come at the expense of a promising youngster.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 13: Shaun Johnson of the Sharks runs with the ball during the round 17 NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the Cronulla Sharks at AAMI Park on July 13, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

“He’s in a really interesting position, Shaun,” Read told Triple M on Saturday.

“Obviously he’s been tapped by Cronulla. I’m not sure how much interest there is out there, particularly at the original asking price. He was originally asking for about two years, $1.6 million.

“There are clubs looking at him. The wildcard is Canterbury. I think they are mulling over what they will do because obviously [there’s] the Kyle Flanagan situation but I’m sure watching last night may convince them it is worth getting him next year. He’s a big game player and did the job last night.”

The move would be another major blow to the confidence of Kyle Flanagan who has struggled for form this year and found himself out of the side.

Johnson's form may make him too hot a prospect to ignore and given the Bulldogs need for improvement they may side for the quick fix rather than opt to persist with Flanagan who is contracted for 2 more seasons beyond 2021.

Johnson said he understood the Sharks' decision but claimed he was now on the look out for a new home.

“I got the news a couple weeks back and it obviously wasn’t the news I wanted to hear,” he told WWOS.

“I had hopes of seeing my career out at this club. They gave me an opportunity three years ago. I have certainly enjoyed my time here. So, it’s not meant to be; they want to head in a different direction, I really do respect that.

“But for me all I can focus on is coming out here, getting some games under my belt, and trusting that next year will take care of itself. Tonight hopefully helps and if there are any clubs out there that are after a halfback, I’m your man. Come on.”