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NRL contract updates: Phil Gould is still re…….

NRL contract news: Bulldogs close in on Connor Watson signing as Phil Gould continues rebuild

Phil Gould has confirmed Canterbury’s interest in sidelined Roosters utility Connor Watson, with the off-contract star set to move on at season’s end.

The 27-year-old has been out of action for the entirety of this year due to a knee injury, with his return to the field still up in the air for the Tricolours.

Watson had been linked with a move overseas at the end of 2023, with a host of Super League clubs chasing the talented Dubbo product, but Gould has intervened and hopes to keep him in the NRL.

If Watson recovers from his lengthy rehab before the Bulldogs’ season starts, he would be a terrific addition with over 120 games of first-grade experience at a variety of positions.

MORE: Canterbury young gun Jake Averillo opens up on shock Dolphins move

Connor Watson set to sign with Canterbury Bulldogs

Speaking on the latest edition of 100% Footy, Gould confirmed reports that Watson had been sounded out regarding a move to Belmore, but admitted the club would be seeking clarification over his injury status.

We have spoken with him; he is a very good player,” Gould stated.

“He’s off-contract at the end of the year with the Roosters, and it was my mail that he was headed towards the UK or considering a UK offer. I thought he was too good to be going to the UK at this time.

We have spoken with him about his injury, which is currently under the control of the Roosters, but we would like some assurance that the rehabilitation was completed appropriately and he will be eligible to play next season.

“Our own medical advice is that he’ll be right to play early next year and should get through it pretty comfortably.

“He’s a professional footballer from a professional club that’s been in really good systems, and they’re the types of players I’m trying to bring into the Bulldogs to help educate our young blokes.

“We want competitive people that know the game and understand being professional. If things go that way, which I hope they do, Connor Watson would be a great acquisition.

“To discuss what we learned last week regarding medicine, I will be meeting with him and his manager again in the morning. Our goal is for him to be ready to play when the upcoming season begins, should we decide to sign him.”

Canterbury have already added some exciting prospects for 2024 and beyond, with the likes of Stephen Crichton and Blake Taaffe both joining on multi-year deals.

Gould has persisted in highlighting how difficult the rebuild will be for the struggling team, who enter the final stretch of the season inside the bottom four.

At the end of this season, the likes of Luke Thompson and Kyle Flanagan are expected to leave the Bulldogs, which should free up significant salary cap space for Gould to continue his signing spree.

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