New Zealand Warriors and Tongan forward Ben Murdoch-Masila has been granted an immediate release from the final year of his contract to reportedly link up with the St George Illawarra Dragons.
The Warriors' prop struggled for game time throughout the 2022 season, playing just 11 games before being picked in Tonga's squad for the Rugby League World Cup in England - a tournament the men in red bowed out of at the quarter-final stage after a loss to rivals Samoa.
Murdoch-Masila, who can play in either the middle or on the edge, also struggled with injury throughout the 2022 campaign, but his ability to play in either the middle third or on the edge has the Red V interested.
It had been reported mid-season that Murdoch-Masila could have been on his way back to England, with interest out of the Super League, however, The Daily Telegraph are now reporting that he will wind up remaining in the NRL with the Dragons.
It's understood that Murdoch-Masila will take up a two-year deal with the Dragons in the NRL, having played 85 NRL games across his time with the Wests Tigers, Penrith Panthers and Warriors.
That's to go with 128 English Super League appearances for the Salford Red Devils and Warrington Wolves between 2016 and 2020.
The Warriors confirmed his release this morning, although the Dragons are yet to announce confirmation of his signature.
“While we were keen for Ben to remain with us for the full term of his contract we weren't in a position right now to offer a further contract beyond this,” Warriors CEO Cameron George said.
“At the same time another club offered him a longer-term deal giving him the security he was looking for.
“We've loved having Ben and Roxy around our club and we really appreciate the contribution they've made. They go with our best wishes.”
The Dragons' forward pack has been well below par in recent times, and has both salary cap and roster spots still available for the 2023 campaign, with their only signings so far focusing on the forward pack - Zane Musgrove has joined from the Wests Tigers, Nick Lui-Toso joins from the Queensland Cup, Jacob Liddle will become the club's new number one hooker, and Michael Molo has been upgraded to a Top 30 contract after impressing late last year.
The quartet join the likes of Blake Lawrie, Francis Molo, Jack de Belin, Jack Bird, Billy Burns, Tyrell Fuimaono, impressive youngsters Jaiyden Hunt and Josh Kerr, Jaydn Su'A and Aaron Woods fighting for spots in the Dragons' pack during 2023, as Anthony Griffin attempts to justify a club option being taken up on him for the season ahead before a ball had been kicked in 2022.