Wests Tigers return
Wests Tigers return

Reynolds one of four huge names cashed up Dogs are chasing

Canterbury favourite and Wests Tigers star Josh Reynolds could make a shock return to Belmore this season as the Bulldogs start post-COVID moves to beef-up their modest playing roster.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal Reynolds is among a list of high-profile players that also includes James Maloney, Jordan Rapana and Ben Te'o, who have been floated to the Bulldogs as potential signings.

The Bulldogs have space in their salary cap for this year following the deregistration of Corey Harawira-Naera and Jayden Okunbor, and will be able to wield their cheque book for 2021 when they will have millions of dollars to spend on new talent.

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The COVID-19 shutdown of codes around the world has left the futures of the likes of Maloney, Te'o and Canberra-bound Rapana uncertain.

The Daily Telegraph understands up to 12 players are being pushed toward Canterbury by rival clubs and player managers.

Other players are also expected to switch clubs through a frustration at playing limited footy in a shortened season.

Reynolds, who attended the Tigers' education day on Monday, has stated previously he would crave a return to Canterbury although he still has two seasons remaining on his Wests Tigers deal.

There is interest from Canterbury although any discussions are preliminary.

At 31, a Canterbury comeback would provide Reynolds with an emotional final season or two in rugby league although the Bulldogs and Wests Tigers have yet to engage in any formal talks.

It is the third time in the past 12 months Reynolds has been linked to a return to Belmore where he played between 2011 and 2017. In July last year, Wests told Reynolds - on a four-year deal worth about $3m at Concord - to look for another club.

At the time Reynolds said: "I'm not going to lie, in a perfect world I get to finish my career where it all started (at Canterbury)."

James Maloney still has two years to run on his contract with Catalans, but there is some uncertainty over his future at the club due to coronavirus. Picture: Ella Pellegrini
James Maloney still has two years to run on his contract with Catalans, but there is some uncertainty over his future at the club due to coronavirus. Picture: Ella Pellegrini

Clearly Canterbury wouldn't pay the full contract should the Bulldogs seek to lure Reynolds home.

Canterbury will have spots available in their roster but the club remains careful of moving on any big-name players until the reduced NRL salary cap for next season is finalised.

Maloney is in the first year of a three-season deal with Super League club Catalans. He hasn't sought a release and appears happy in the south of France but that hasn't stopped his name being pressed upon the Bulldogs.

One well informed source said some players may not even know they're being shopped around.

"Canterbury has spots to fill and every club knows that," the source said. "The Bulldogs have a heap of players being thrown up to them. The club will look at each player but isn't chasing any of them aggressively just yet.

"Others in the game are asking Canterbury whether they would consider the players and the club said 'yes'."

Jordan Rapana is set to sign a deal with the Raiders but could be available in 2021. Picture: AAP.
Jordan Rapana is set to sign a deal with the Raiders but could be available in 2021. Picture: AAP.

Rapana, 30, is expected to sign a short-term deal with Canberra for 2020 but could be available for next season. His Japanese rugby union competition - where he represents Panasonic Wild Knights - has been cancelled through coronavirus.

Te'o, 33, is considering a return to the NRL after a successful stint with English rugby union. He was part of South Sydney's 2014 premiership-winning side.

Like Rapana, Te'o is searching for some footy after his Japanese rugby side, the Sunwolves, only played several games this season before COVID-19 ended the competition.

Originally published as Reynolds one of four huge names cashed up Dogs are chasing