Look who the Dogs are eyeing in massive double play
Canterbury chief executive Andrew Hill has opened up about his club's strong push to pinch star halfback Kyle Flanagan from the Sydney Roosters.
Flanagan, 22, is under contract at Bondi for next season but it is becoming increasingly likely he will be released to join the Bulldogs immediately.
It would be a stunning demise at the Roosters given Flanagan played in the club's semi-final loss to Canberra last Saturday night.
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The Sydney Roosters won't comment publicly but know of Canterbury's interest and privately concede Flanagan may be moved on.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson has an enormous opinion of rising young halfback Sam Walker, the son of former NRL star Ben, while Lachlan Lam would be another robust option to partner Luke Keary.
Canterbury had planned to negotiate with Flanagan - the son of former Sharks coach Shane - from November 1 given he was off contract after next season. Those talks may now be accelerated with Flanagan a huge chance of being a Bulldog in 2021.
"He is definitely a player we had earmarked to look at post November 1," Hill said.
"Clearly he is contracted to the Roosters for next year but we will monitor the situation.
"We are always interested in quality players when they come on the market and the position he plays is important to every team.
"We thought, come November 1, he would be a player we'd be talking about. But it is something I need to discuss more when Trent (Barrett, new coach) gets here.
"We will have a fair bit of discussion internally. There is a lot of speculation but nothing more at the moment but he is definitely a player of interest."
The Bulldogs could be favourites for Flanagan but other clubs are also certain to show interest. While he endured a mixed season, Flanagan did play the later part of the season with a shoulder injury.
Canterbury has already signed Blake Green for next season but that deal could fall through if the veteran playmaker decides to retire and accept a coaching role in Newcastle.
The Bulldogs' existing halves include Green, Lachlan Lewis, Brendon Wakeham and Jake Averillo. Penrith gun Matt Burton is another player being targeted by the Bulldogs.
Burton is under contract for next season with Penrith officials hoping to extend his tenure at the club. He may, however, look at other options given Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai look set to be Penrith's long-term starting halves.
The Bulldogs are aware of Flanagan's ability and are also attracted to his amazing goalkicking. Canterbury hasn't had a sharpshooter since Hazem El Masri retired.
Barrett has held internal discussions at Belmore about Flanagan, who only joined the Roosters this year after Cooper Cronk retired.
Flanagan started the season well with the Roosters but was dropped after round 12 for Lam before returning later in the season.
Barrett is desperate to overhaul Canterbury's playing roster after the club narrowly avoided a wooden spoon finish this season.