England and Raiders star John Bateman could be set for a move to the Bulldogs after Canberra gave him permission to test the open market.
The 26-year old is under contract with the Raiders until the end of 2021, but has posted on social media in recent days stating that he has the ability to renegotiate his contract each year.
According to NRL.com, Canterbury will speak with Bateman’s agent Isaac Moses within days after Canberra CEO Don Furner confirmed the club had given Bateman permission to test the waters.
Bulldogs coach Dean Pay was made aware of Bateman’s potential availability through his close friendship with Raiders coach Ricky Stuart, who Pay served under at Parramatta and Canberra.
Last year’s run to the grand final has lead to a tight salary cap situation for the Raiders, with players such as Jack Wighton and Nick Cotric set for increased deals.
These increases could see Bateman and his reported $600,000 contract be pushed out, with the club stating they won’t stand in his way if he receives a better deal elsewhere.
However, Bateman has stated his preference to remain in Canberra on an upgraded and extended deal.
The Bulldogs are one of the few clubs with enough cap space to potentially sign Bateman and have recently signed his English teammate Luke Thompson on a three-year deal.