Roosters go shopping as Dogs battle to keep young gun
THE Sydney Roosters are set to secure the services of off-contract Canterbury winger Brett Morris as well as Leeds and England flyer Ryan Hall for next season.
The Bulldogs continue to shed players to remain salary cap compliant, but got some good news yesterday when 21-year-old half Lachlan Lewis re-signed with the club for the next two seasons.
But the Bulldogs are facing a fight to keep boom forward Rhyse Martin, with coach Dean Pay remaining coy on the 23-year-old's future.
When asked if he would like to see Martin remain at the club beyond 2018, Pay said: "Yeah look, we're going through those negotiations with him."
But it is understood official talks are yet to begin. The off-contract Martin has pressed his claims for a contract upgrade after a string of quality performances.
Pay said there were several positions across his rosters that he was seeking to fill and the club would be looking to secure the kind of players that offered the most value for money.
That meant they were unable to offer Morris a contract for 2019, bringing an end to the 31-year-old's four-season stay at the Bulldogs.
After being forced to chop and change his spine over the course of the season, Pay indicated he had finally settled on Lewis and Jeremy Marshall-King as his halves pairing for the rest of the year.
"We're at a stage where we are quite stable there and I think our footy is improving for it," he said.
"Hoppa (Will Hopoate) has been really good at fullback and the two young boys in the halves are starting to get a bit of a combination there. It's definitely helped."
While Lewis is firmly in Pay's future plans, he reserved special praise for Marshall-King, who is beginning to find his feet as the side's dominant playmaker.
"He's a footballer, he's a really good kid," he said.