Canterbury’s on-again, off-again pursuit of John Asiata is set to be reignited after the Bulldogs identified the ball-playing forward as an ideal replacement for Adam Elliott.
Just a couple of weeks after general manager Phil Gould told the off-contract Asiata not to turn down other rival offers given Canterbury’s salary cap predicament, the Bulldogs have discussed a renewed pitch for the 28-year-old following Elliott’s exit.
Elliott has played his last game for the club after agreeing to a mutual release from the final two years of his deal. That came following the Gold Coast toilet tryst with NRLW player Millie Boyle, which also cost him a $10,000 fine from the NRL. He is on the hunt for a new club and is expected to field offers in coming weeks.
His Canterbury exit has freed up more than $400,000 in the club’s salary cap for 2022, making Asiata an attractive option to increase creativity in the forwards. The Brisbane forward even spent time filling in at half during his earlier days at North Queensland.
It was thought Canterbury’s push to bring Asiata to Belmore was going to be thwarted, but Elliott’s decision to start afresh after agreeing a settlement with the Bulldogs has opened the door again.
Asiata underwent neck surgery after a nasty head clash with South Sydney veteran Mark Nicholls during a match in June. But it hasn’t deterred the Bulldogs, who have room to make another signing for their revamped squad under coach Trent Barrett for next season.
Matt Burton, Josh Addo-Carr, Tevita Pangai jnr, Brent Naden, Paul Vaughan and Matt Dufty will all join the club over summer, and Asiata could be the next to follow.