The Bulldogs could face a battle holding on to one of the most improved props in the game – pocket battleship Max King.
King is one of the few quality front-rowers coming off contract at the end of this season and has attracted the eye of at least three rival clubs.
The Bulldogs are anxious to retain the 26-year-old, who has been their most consistent forward since joining the club from the Storm two years ago.
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They are set to sit down with King’s management in coming weeks in the hope of quickly signing the busy prop to a long-term deal.
But rival clubs can talk to King as he is unsigned for 2025 and it could all come down to a bidding war.
“We are keen to keep Max – he’s a great kid and been very good for us,” Bulldogs boss Phil Gould told Wide World of Sports.
King has amazing rugby league pedigree – his great-grandfather Cec played for Souths in the 1940s, his grandad Johnny was a star in the Dragons team of the 1950s and ’60s, playing in seven of their 11 straight grand final wins and his dad David played for Gold Coast in the 1990s.
ANOTHER CROSS-CODE RAID
Rugby league is looking at pinching another elite player from rugby union – but this time in the women’s game.
Kiwi born Carys Dallinger won the Rugby Australia Rookie of the Year award in 2023 and is a star for the Wallaroos.
The 23-year-old fly-half almost joined the Dragons last year but the deal fell through at the last hurdle.
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Currently contracted with the Queensland Reds, Dallinger has been working as a teachers aide but will get a substantial pay rise if she switches codes.
Several NRLW teams have their eye on the talented playmaker and rugby union officials know they face a battle keeping her in their game next year.
WARRIORS NAB RISING STAR
The Warriors have picked up rising Knights forward Toni Tupouniua – for peanuts.
The younger brother of Roosters star Sitili Tupouniua, Toni was a standout for the Knights’ NSW Cup team last season.
He was set for a top 30 spot with the Knights this season before the club needed to free up cap space and allowed him to look around.
The 24-year-old – who was born in New Zealand – did a deal with the Warriors which the Knights are funding the majority of and will play in this weekend’s trial against the Tigers in Christchurch.
KNIGHTS KID COPS UNLUCKY BREAK
A blow for the Knights in the opening round of junior league last week with a potentially season-ending injury to boom five-eighth Jye Linnane.
The nephew of former Dragons star Steve Linnane, 18-year-old Jye is rated among the fastest players in the Knights’ ranks and scorched in for two early tries against the Raiders last Saturday week.
But Linnane then suffered an ACL tear and is likely to miss the rest of the season – a cruel fate for a kid who worked his guts out all off season and was primed for a big year.