Hopes of a fairytale return to Belmore have been squashed for Josh Reynolds with the former State of Origin half to remain with the Wests Tigers.
Negotiations over a switch to Canterbury have stalled after the clubs failed to reach an agreement on how his salary, believed to be around $750,000 a season, would be divided.
While the Bulldogs are in the market for players, their former cult hero would command too much of their salary cap for 2020, with the Tigers unwilling to pay top dollar for him to play at a rival club.
On Friday Bulldogs coach Dean Pay said it was difficult to make agreements with clubs for players on huge wages while keeping the salary cap in balance.
“From our point of view it’s something that’s gone off the boil to a certain degree,” he said.
“When there’s large sums of money involved it’s hard to manage that side of the cap and that’s where it gets really difficult to manage.”
Reynolds was let go by the Bulldogs at the end of 2017 after seven years and two grand finals with the club. Injury has restricted him to just 14 games for the Tigers, primarily in the halves or as a bench utility.
However, the Bulldogs have plenty of money tied up in the halves with million-dollar star Kieran Foran shaping to return to the field in round three and Lachlan Lewis, Brandon Wakeham and Jack Cogger vying for a spot.
The Bulldogs are also dealing with several injuries from their first-grade side for the season, while Corey Harawira-Naera and Jayden Okunbor have had their contracts de-registered.
These holes need to be filled, but only when it is the right fit says Pay.
“It’s one of those things where we’re always looking for quality players but you’ve got to be able to fit in with what we’re doing salary-cap wise with different players so there’s a lot of different restrictions,” he said.