NRL Rd 8 - Eels v Cowboys
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 03: Reed Mahoney of the Eels passes during the round eight NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the North Queensland Cowboys at Bankwest Stadium on July 03, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Parramatta Eels' star hooker Reed Mahoney has reportedly told the club he will leave for the 2023 season.

Mahoney's contract situation has been one of the most closely monitored since November 1, when all off-contract players at the end of 2022 could begin negotiations with other clubs.

It had been reported that Mahoney was keen on a return to Queensland, potentially with the Dolphins, but it would appear the expansion club are set to miss out on yet another star of the game.

The hooker, who was on the cusp of a State of Origin debut in 2021, is set to link up with the Canterbury Bulldogs, who are continuing their recruitment raid under general manager Phil Gould and head coach Trent Barrett.

According to Channel 7s Michelle Bishop, Mahoney has now officially told the club he will be exiting after the 2022 season.

That does conflict with a Fox Sports report from earlier this morning that the Eels were upping the ante, and the size of the offer to Mahoney in an attempt to keep him.

But it appears that is all too little, too late now, with Mahoney set to join the Bulldogs.

It's a cruel blow for the Eels, who have already lost Marata Niukore and Isaiah Papali'i. The club were desperate to hang onto Mahoney, who is seen as a player the club could build around, alongside Clint Gutherson and Junior Paulo.

The Eels still have numerous players off-contract at the end of 2022 and have thus far only made one re-signing in Reagan Campbell-Gillard.

On the Bulldogs' front, the club continue to build their squad. They have brought in numerous high-profile recruits for 2022 including Tevita Pangai Junior, Matt Dufty, Matt Burton, Josh Addo-Carr and Paul Vaughan, while Viliame Kikau is set to sign for 2023 after a photograph showing him in a Bulldogs' polo with Gould and Barrett was leaked last week.

It's been thought the Bulldogs only point of weakness after the recruitment raid was at hooker, but Mahoney is more than capable of fixing that as one of the best number nine's in the game.

The wait too goes on for the Dolphins, who are still chasing their first signature 25 days after they were free to begin negotiating.

It had been thought Reed Mahoney and Patrick Carrigan could be the first two players for the NRL's 17th club, but that now appears to be off on both fronts.

The Bulldogs have made no official announcement on Mahoney's potential signing.