Warriors boss Jim Doyle has admitted that Kieran Foran is unlikely to remain with the New Zealand Warriors next season.
Foran is understood to be keen on relocating back to Sydney to be closer to his two young children, and the Bulldogs is his expected destination for 2018 and beyond.
But Doyle denied suggestions a deal was done with anyone, claiming that Foran is still in the process of weighing up his future and there is a "slim chance" he may still choose Auckland over Sydney.
"He's saying that he would like to stay, but we're also 100 per cent clear of his family situation with the kids, he's still working through that," Doyle told Tony Veitch on Newstalk ZB.
"It might be a slim chance, but certainly a chance."
Bulldogs coach Des Hasler has also insisted his side is yet to sign Foran.
"No contracts have been signed, so there is no agreement. There have been some discussion with their managements. So far they have been fairly positive but that's all that's been," said Hasler, when pressed on the status of Foran and fellow rumoured signing Aaron Woods.
Hasler gave Foran his NRL debut at the Manly Sea Eagles in 2009 and the pair won a premiership together as a player and coach in 2011.
The Bulldogs mentor also stayed in contact with him during his highly-publicised off-field dramas last year, but he said that did not put him in a prize position to secure his signature.
"When he was ill, I think a lot of people who were concerned - so a lot of people would have been supporting Kieran through that time," Hasler said.
The Warriors' decision to bring Foran to Auckland on a one-year deal has been criticised by some observers, but Doyle said the benefit of having a player of his calibre at the club - even if it is just for 12 months, far out weighed the negatives.
"Kieran's preference would be to play with the club till September, see how this year goes, with seeing the kids every second weekend and all that sort of thing. That was his intention from day one. If that could work out well, possibly he could stay here longer. But unfortunately based on salary cap, club recruitment etc, he's getting asked to make decisions earlier and earlier and earlier. And that's what he's working through. It's the kids, it's not anything else.
"We always knew that Kieran was eventually going to go back to Sydney to be with his kids. But whether it's this year, or next year, he's always going to go back. But he hasn't said he's going to go to any particular team," said Doyle.
Doyle also said the Warriors are also expecting confirmation on the future of front rower Ben Matulino, who has been rumoured to be courted by the Wests Tigers.
"We're still looking with Ben, he hasn't decided yet either, but I think he's pretty close to deciding also."
A move to the Tigers would see Matulino play under former Warriors and Panthers coach Ivan Cleary who coached the Kiwis international in Auckland between 2008 and 2011.
The Warriors currently have 20 players coming off contract at the end of the season.
Listen to the full interview between Jim Doyle and Tony Veitch here:
- Additional reporting AAP