Canterbury NRL coach Des Hasler has hosed down speculation the Bulldogs will make a play for Manly playmaker Kieran Foran.
The five-eighth is at the centre of a contract wrangle, with Parramatta attempting to alter his deal to join the western Sydney club for the 2016 season.
Foran has expressed his disillusionment with Parramatta’s back-tracking and is considering walking away from the deal.
But with the Bulldogs already boasting three top-quality halves – Trent Hodkinson, Moses Mbye and Josh Reynolds – on its books, Hasler has played down the prospect of his former protege moving to Belmore.
“I haven’t even given it any thought, to tell you the truth,” he said on Sunday.
Hodkinson is off-contract at season’s end and is tipped to join Newcastle.
The Bulldogs, along with the Sydney Roosters and Foran’s current club Manly, are reportedly in the race to snatch the star pivot from under the Eels’ grasp.
Even with his departure, it would be hard to see how Foran would fit into the Dogs’ squad, especially with the club poised to invest in 21-year-old Mbye.
However, Hasler is a fan of Foran and made a big play to bring the New Zealand five-eighth to Belmore when he was last off contract in 2012.
Hasler handed Foran his NRL debut while coach of Manly and the pair won a premiership together in 2011.
Last week, Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy called Foran’s contract saga a “black eye” and said it made the game look amateur.
The Bulldogs take on the Storm at their spiritual home of Belmore Oval on Monday night, the first time the club have played a premiership game there in 17 years.
Hasler said he expected Melbourne and Queensland playmaker Cooper Cronk to line up.
Cronk is recovering from a knee injury but is in line for an early return in a bid to prove his fitness for the July 8 State of Origin decider.
“I think Cooper Cronk will play,” Hasler said.
“I think Cooper being out for so long and being ear-marked for Origin, he will probably want to get a game under his belt.
“I expect Cooper to play and he brings a lot to that team.”