St George Illawarra young star Jayden Sullivan to request release to Canterbury Bulldogs if Ben Hunt re-signs

The development won’t come as a surprise to the club hierarchy. Sullivan’s agent also acts for Amone and the parties have just completed a two-year extension for the latter. During the course of negotiations, it was made clear that he didn’t want his promising clients jostling for the one spot.

Sullivan is prepared to bid his time for now, but that will change the moment there are moves to extend Hunt’s tenure at the joint-venture outfit.

Several clubs in need of a halfback have inquired whether Hunt could be released early to join them next year, but the Maroons ace has no appetite to leave the Dragons before his deal expires. The former Bronco’s preference is to finish his career in the Red V.

As revealed by the Herald back in May, the Bulldogs have identified Sullivan as the playmaker they want. Given Amone has extended his contract and there’s likelihood of Hunt following suit, Sullivan could well be Matt Burton’s Bulldogs halves partner next year.

At one stage a player swap of Kyle Flanagan for Sullivan was floated – ironically premiership-winning coach Shane Flanagan, Kyle’s father, is a recruiter for the Dragons – but the move never got traction.

Flanagan junior has done a serviceable job during Canterbury’s mini-revival under interim coach Mick Potter, but Sullivan is considered the man to take the “Family Club” to the next level.

The Bulldogs are also looking for a fullback and the Dragons appear to have one too many of those as well. Tyrell Sloan will get a rare taste of first grade against Cronulla after being named on the bench, but he has fallen behind Cody Ramsey and even utility Moses Mbye in fullback calculations. Sloan’s future may not be at the Bulldogs, but it mightn’t be at the Dragons either.

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It could result in more upheaval at a club that has already had its share. Coach Anthony Griffin still has a year to run on a contract that some pundits shouldn’t have been extended. His side goes into Friday’s derby against the Sharks just one win out of the top eight, although their inferior for-and-against effectively means they are four points out of the finals.

The club also trying to find the right balance between blooding young stars Ramsey, Sloan, Sullivan, Amone and Max and Matthew Feagai, while ensuring they have experienced heads around them. Some believe the scales have tipped too much in favor of the grizzled, older heads.

How it all transpires from here will ultimately decide the future of the club and the coach.

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