The St George Illawarra Dragons and Dolphins are reportedly set to join the race for Kulikefu Finefeuiaki.

Off-contract at the end of 2024, Finefeuiaki at just 19 years of age is already widely regarded as one of the best young edge forwards in the game.

Making his debut at the Cowboys in the middle of the 2023 season, Finefeuiaki has already played 12 games for the club, having been upgraded from a development contract to a full time contract in April.

His 12 games coming between Round 10 and the end of the season saw the second-rower become an important part of Todd Payten's side, although his spot isn't guaranteed moving forward.

The Cowboys have all of Finefeuiaki, Luciano Leilua, Heilum Luki and Jeremiah Nanai at their disposal for what, realistically, will be three spots in the 17 each week.

It has led to speculation in recent times that the Townsville-based outfit may look to move one of the second-rowers on to alleviate pressure for minutes and money in the salary cap, with the Canberra Raiders even believed to be interested if that player is Leilua.

The Raiders have been chasing a second-rower for some time, and have made it clear replenishing their edge forwards is the number one recruitment priority.

But it may be Finefeuiaki who the Cowboys have trouble retaining, with News Corp now reporting that both the Dragons and Dolphins are interested.

That said, the Cowboys director of football Michael Luck has refuted claims they are looking to move on any of the quartet.

The Dragons are on a rebuilding march under new coach Shane Flanagan, with the club looking to pour money into bids for Joseph Manu, Thomas Dearden and Addin Fonua-Blake.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, are still in their formitive years and will have cash and roster spots to decide ahead of Krisitan Woolf taking over as head coach in 2025.

Both clubs could yet be joined by others in the race for the young second-rower, and it will drive his asking price through the roof. It's reported that already, those clubs potentially in pursuit are talking of a figure at around $600,000 per year, which will be a tough pill to swallow on the Cowboys' salary cap if they do fight to keep the 19-year-old.

Given he is off-contract at the end of 2024, his management have been allowed to negotiate with rival clubs since November 1,