WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA - JULY 14: Ben Hunt of the Dragons evades the tackle of Josh Hodgson of the Raiders during the round 17 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Canberra Raiders at WIN Stadium on July 14, 2019 in Wollongong, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The contract discussions between the St George Illawarra Dragons and star playmaker Ben Hunt have been well advertised, with the club confident of keeping the Dally M leader from 2024.

But the situation has grown considerably more complicated after The Daily Telegraph reported the Gold Coast Titans are among six clubs trying to lure Hunt away from Sydney’s south.

The Titans are reported to have made direct inquiries as they try to put a substantial package with significant incentives to the Maroons No.9 in a bid to lure him back to Queensland.

The Telegraph also revealed the Titans are upping the ante – attempting to secure Hunt’s services a year early and bring him to Robina next season.

The Dragons remain confident that Hunt will sign an extension given his blazing form and close relationship with Dragons’ coach Anthony Griffin – although he does have a connection to the Gold Coast through Titans chairman Dennis Watt, who previously worked with Hunt at the Broncos.

Were Hunt to accept a deal on the Gold Coast, he’d link up with Kieran Foran in a new-look halves combo that would fill the void of experience at the Titans.

Talks between the Dragons and Hunt got underway last week, with discussions around an extension until 2025 going well by all accounts.

“I can definitely see myself finishing (at the Dragons),” Hunt had earlier told NewsCorp.

“I’m really enjoying myself at the club, I’m really enjoying being coached by ‘Hook’ (Anthony Griffin) and there’s a good bunch of fellas there. The club is heading in the right direction.

“I’d look anywhere, but at the moment I’m happy where I am. The priority is to get the Dragons to keep building.”

It’s not known if the Titans’ interest will fade if they’re unable to secure Hunt’s services next season. The club is currently mired in last place and in desperate need of experience in key positions, with coach Justin Holbrook admitting Foran can't come soon enough.

Hunt becomes a free agent on November 1.