CANTERBURY has reportedly made a dramatic move to end the career of superstar recruit Kieran Foran.
The injured playmaker joined the Bulldogs ahead of the 2018 season on a three-year deal reportedly worth $1 million per-year - but his form slump has mirrored the club's disastrous 2018 campaign.
With star forward Aaron Woods and Moses Mbye already out the door - perhaps even in the next two weeks - the club has reached a new low point with its attempt to push Foran into retirement.
The former premiership winner with the Sea Eagles will celebrate his 28th birthday next week on June 21 - and he may be celebrating as a retired footballer, according to Wide World of Sports.
The report claims the Bulldogs have applied to the NRL to have Foran's salary exempt from the cap if it is ruled that his retirement is a medical necessity.
NRL salary cap rules will allow Foran's significant salary to be removed from the cap for the remainder of his deal until the end of 2020 - if it is proven his retirement is purely prompted by his ongoing injuries.
The Kiwi international has missed the past two games for the Dogs with a toe injury, but he has reportedly also been trying to manage an ongoing neck injury and will miss another month of football.
Foran's premature retirement would allow the Bulldogs to have some salary cap freedom for 2019 season.
With the club in the middle of a painful salary cap crunch, Canterbury has pulled the same move Parramatta made when Anthony Watmough was given the all-clear to retire for medical reasons while continuing to receive his full salary - paid outside the salary cap.
The Bulldogs have already accepted that star twins Brett Morris and Josh Morris will be forced to find a new home at the end of the season, and Woods is reportedly set to make a move to Cronulla before the June 30 recruitment deadline.
Mbye, who has been one of the Bulldogs' few players to find red-hot form this season, has already signed with the Wests Tigers on a four-year-deal beginning in 2019.
The Tigers are reportedly still negotiating with the Bulldogs over a deal that would allow Mbye to also move to the Tigers before June 30.
Mbye has previously declared it is not his preference to desert his teammates in the middle of the season, but will make the move if the Dogs and Tigers can strike a deal in the next two weeks.
The Canterbury No.1 signed a four-year Tigers deal from 2019 but had not ruled out the possibility of a move to the joint venture before the June 30 deadline. However, Mbye said he felt duty bound to provide a fitting finish to his stint for a club that handed him his NRL debut five seasons ago.
Mbye, 24, was forced out of the Bulldogs due to the club's ongoing salary cap woes.
Asked about a mid-season switch, Mbye told Fox Sports' Queenslanders Only: "It's the NRL, anything can happen but I am at the Dogs this week. I am looking forward to finishing the year with the boys.
"I think it is important how you leave a club as well.
"I want to go out without burning any bridges or upsetting anyone. I think the boys deserve that."
Moving out of Belmore would be tempting for Mbye after Canterbury lost its 10th game of the year last round to relegate it to 15th on the ladder, equal on wins with dead-last Parramatta.
And the Tigers are in need of a full-time fullback.
"At the moment the plan is to play fullback but I have only had very brief conversations with (Tigers coach) Ivan (Cleary)," Mbye said of his Tigers role.
"Obviously I still have commitments at the Bulldogs and we haven't really gone into that (at the Tigers)."
The Bulldogs host Gold Coast on Saturday before the representative round, ensuring any switch to the Tigers would need to happen before Canterbury's June 30 trip to Newcastle.
- with AAP