Bulldogs fullback all but certain to move north of the border for 2014.
The Brisbane Broncos have stepped up their bid to sign Ben Barba for next season after outlining the terms of the deal they are willing to offer.
The former Dally M Medal winner could put pen to paper on a four-year deal with the Broncos, who are also willing to pay Canterbury any compensation in order to get their man.
Currently Barba still has two years to run on his current deal at Bankstown, however, a desire to stay close with the mother of his two children, who has moved to Brisbane, has seen him publicly express his desire to move back to Queensland.
That news has brought North Queensland and Gold Coast into the frame to snare the exciting playmaker, but Brisbane have the inside running and are confident of landing the star back.
Bulldogs coach Des Hasler has said in the past he and the club would only be willing to let Barba leave if they could find a suitable replacement.
Josh Dugan was first in the Bulldogs’ sights before he re-signed with St George on a long-term deal, with the next big name being Israel Folau.
The dual-code international has been heavily linked to re-signing with the Australian Rugby Union and the NSW Waratahs, but as yet he has not put pen to paper, giving the Dogs some hope of snaring their target.
Despite a lack of a clear replacement on the horizon, Barba’s manager Gavin Orr is confident they will release the fullback.
“When Ben sat out earlier this season (due to personal issues), Todd Greenberg (recently-departed Bulldogs CEO) stood up and talked about the person’s welfare being bigger than the club,” Orr said.
“Based on that, I would hope they sympathise with Ben’s circumstances and let him go.
“I don’t know how long it will take (to obtain a release), but hopefully I will hear something next week.
“I don’t need to know whether there will be a compensation component. That’s for the Broncos and Bulldogs to work out but it won’t affect Ben’s personal situation.”