Canterbury’s best forward could be on his way out of the club, with NSW Origin and Test prop David Klemmer requesting a release from his deal at the Bulldogs.
In a huge blow to Canterbury’s future aspirations, it appears Klemmer could be on his way out of Belmore at the end of the season after seeking a release from the final three years of his contract.
Fairfax Media understands at the heart of Klemmer’s frustrations is a perception he has been left short-changed after the club failed to commit to a number of financial arrangements previously agreed upon.
The club is trying to make sure Klemmer is compensated for the deal coming undone, but he is no guarantee to be at the Bulldogs next year.
It is also understood Klemmer’s future as a starting player at the Bulldogs has recently been questioned by the club, who had been considering shifting the international forward to the bench next year to accommodate the arrival of Aaron Woods alongside Aiden Tolman and James Graham in the run-on 13.
Klemmer is considered one of the best forwards in the NRL and would not have any trouble landing a deal for 2018 and beyond if the Bulldogs are unable to keep him satisfied.
Wests Tigers showed interest in luring the 23-year-old the last time he was off contract and Klemmer would be a handy pick-up for the joint venture to go with the acquisition of Russell Packer and Ben Matulino in a new-look forward pack at the club next season.
While Klemmer’s departure would cruel the prop of the chance to play alongside close friend Woods, Klemmer is very close to Josh Reynolds, who will leave the Bulldogs at the end of the season bound for the Tigers.
It is understood Klemmer was disappointed the club did not do more to keep Reynolds, who is regarded as the heart and soul of the Canterbury outfit.
Woods and Reynolds will be in Klemmer’s bridal party when he gets married to the mother of his three children after this year’s World Cup at the end of the season.
Canterbury have massive salary cap constraints for next season and are already expected to part ways with Sam Kasiano and Greg Eastwood at the end of the year to make room for Woods and Kieran Foran.
Graham, who has been linked with a move to Newcastle after reports the Bulldogs captain had been shopped around, is now likely to remain at the club – especially if Klemmer departs at the end of the season.
The Bulldogs this week extended the contract of fullback Will Hopoate for another three seasons, the former NSW representative agreeing to play games on Sundays despite a desire to sit out matches on the sabbath because of his religious beliefs.
If Klemmer is granted a release, it would go a long way to alleviating Canterbury’s salary cap concerns for next year, with only hooker Michael Lichaa among the high-profile off contract players at the end of this year.
Klemmer was arguably NSW’s second best forward behind Blues prop Andrew Fifita in the opening game of the State of Origin series on Wednesday night, proving why he is held in such high regard by Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga.
The All Saints Toongabbie Tigers junior made his NRL debut in 2013, graduating from the Bulldogs’ under-20s team where he was crowned the competition’s most valuable player in 2012.
He has played for his state on seven occasions and represented in nine matches since making his debut for the Kangaroos as a 20-year-old in 2014.