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Cameron Ciraldo Bulldogs coach, Panthers off-contract players, Bulldogs signings, salary cap space, Stephen Crichton, Jackson Hastings, Brian To’o

Cameron Ciraldo’s appointment as Bulldogs coach has put the spotlight on the club’s roster for the 2023 season – and who the youngest coach in the NRL could bring to Belmore.

The 37-year-old has a strong relationship with the players on the Panthers team, and Co-host of NRL360 Paul Kent believes at least “one or two” will make the move.

“If you’re a betting man, you’d have to say one or two go with him,” Kent said.

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Generally, when a coach leaves a club, he always takes one or two with him.

While the Panthers are said to have no concerns about Ciraldo’s catcher, they have moved to lock up their out-of-contract superstars.

According to The Daily Telegraph , the Panthers have made initial offers to core stars Liam Martin, Stephen Crichton and Brian Too, fearing a $6 million bidding war.

The club want all three to remain unsigned by November 1, when they can negotiate with their rivals for the 2024 season.

According to reports, Crichton’s value could top $800,000 at one point on the open market as a fullback, Martin could play for $600,000 and Too could play for up to $500,000.

Australia’s Brent Reid has revealed the Bulldogs have an “incredible” amount of cap space to sign marquee players in 2024, allowing them to make big-money offers to the trio.

“In 2024, they have so much salary cap room, it’s not funny, I think they only have half a dozen players for 2024,” Read said on Triple M.

“They have an amazing size.”

Phil Gould and Ciraldo could be just the beginning of the signings as they prepare to build a roster that will turn the Bulldogs into contenders once again.

Foxsports.com.au’s Cameron Ciraldo analyzes the players he could target in the Bulldogs’ rebuild!

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Stephen Crichton

Young gun Stephen Crichton is one name to head cross-town to the Bulldogs.

The 21-year-old still has his prime ahead of him and has won the Premier League title with Origin.

Currently plying his trade in the centres, Crichton’s value comes from his ability to play fullback and his “X-factor” according to NRL360 host Bryce Anasta.

“That’s the advantage he brings… he’s playing in the middle for Penrith but he has the ability to play fullback,” Kent said.

“Managers all try and sell him as a fullback because he’s so expensive, but he’s got the ability to do it.”

“He has the X-factor,” Anastas said.

The Bulldogs are in desperate need of a specialist fullback, despite Jake Averillo showing up in the No.1 jersey in recent weeks.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the Panthers are desperate to keep Crichton but will be unable to match offers from rival clubs.

The Premier’s chairman is said to be relying on Crichton’s family ties to the region and the club’s recent success to play a major role in the decision.

Speaking about his future on Tuesday, Crichton said he would entertain any decision in the offseason.

“I haven’t really talked to my manager about that,” said Crichton, who can negotiate with rivals as of Nov. 1.

“He’s still locked in with Penrith for the rest of the year and there are some big games coming up. I haven’t thought about that external stuff yet.

“That time will come. My main job… is to perform on weekends. I haven’t thought about it much. I’ll leave it until the end of the year to make those big decisions.

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Liam Martin

Again, Ciraldo’s Panthers connection would be a big factor in this signing – but the Bulldogs have the money to match Martin’s value.

Liam Martin can command over $600,000 on the open market and his background and ultimate experience could be a great addition to the Canterbury-Bankstown squad.

The club is losing Jack Hetherington in 2023 and Martin could form a strong back partnership with Tevita Pangai Jr, William Kikau, Josh Jackson or Raymond Fitala-Mariner.

Martin is likely to seek a long-term deal for his next contract and reports suggest the 25-year-old has knocked back the Panthers’ initial extension request.

Martin’s first choice is to stay at the bottom of the mountain, but in the Bulldogs’ salary cap space – the club could offer him a contract too good to turn down.

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Brian Too

Another Panther out of contract this year and Penrith are desperate to keep him.

Too, commanding over $500,000 on the open market, is one of the more popular wings in the competition and could form a strong partnership with Josh Addo-Carr.

Young gun Jacob Kiraz could move into the centers after a whirlwind start to his NRL career, creating a formidable backline for years to come.

Too’s family connection and history of success with the Panthers could come into play, but the Canterbury-Bankstown club could offer a lucrative deal to lure Too to Belmore for the 2024 season.

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Lachlan Miller

Lachlan Miller has shown he is at home in the NRL Arena in his three first grade games for Cronulla this season.

The former Olympian switched codes and got the call to play full-up in the 11th round and scored a breakaway try.

Since that game, young gun Cade Dykes has moved up in the pecking order, filling in for Will Kennedy after he suffered a syndesmosis injury.

The 28-year-old is a good option to take over the fullback role at Belmore, but his versatility could see a number of clubs interested in signing him.

Miller played for the Sharks’ feeder club Newtown Jets at half-back, as well as playing at fullback or on the wing for Craig Fitzgibbon’s side.

Miller could also be a cheaper option and is open to negotiations with rival clubs on November 1.

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Jackson Hastings

Jackson Hastings’ return to the NRL has been seamless following a successful spell in the English Super League.

The 26-year-old was an ever-reliable figure in the Tigers’ lineup throughout the 2022 season, despite suffering a broken leg in a nasty hip-drop encounter.

Hastings has previously been linked with a move to the Bulldogs and could form a strong partnership with superstar Matt Burton.

Read on NRL360: “One Tigers player not linked with the Bulldogs is Jackson Hastings.

If the Bulldogs say they love Jackson Hastings, I guess the Tigers will say yours.

Hastings is said to be earning $500,000 per season under his current two-year deal, but will be free to negotiate with rival clubs on November 1.

Incoming Tigers coach Tim Sheens has a big decision to make regarding his fly-half partnership, with three players vying for the No.6 and No.7 jerseys – Brooks, Hastings and Doehy.

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