Tevita Pangai Junior is set to play out the rest of the season with a short term deal at Penrith Panthers before heading to the Bulldogs on 2022.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the Panthers have made salary cap space to sign the Broncos player or the remainder of the year.
The Herald reported that Penrith originally budgeted on forward-paying the 2022 contracts of their highest paid players before the August cut-off but instead their budget plans to sign Pangai as they push for an NRL title.
Penrith had previously made it clear they wouldn’t be pursuing the Canterbury-bound forward for this season, but the loss of James Fisher-Harris – who will return home for the birth of his child after the weekend – changed their stance.
Fisher-Harris will not be allowed back into the NRL bubble until he has served a 14-day quarantine period in a Queensland hotel. He would be expected to miss rounds 20-22, the Herald reported.
The Herald quoted soureces as saying Pangai jnr has been valued at $120,000 for the remainder of the year, and the NRL will not allow players to move for under market value.
The Sydney Morning Herald and Wide World of Sports previously reported that Pangai Jr will join the Bulldogs on a $2.2 million deal beginning next NRL season.
The 25-year-old will join the long list of names heading to Belmore next season – including Josh Addo-Carr, Matt Burton and Matthew Dufty – as the Dogs look to accelerate their torturous rebuild.
Pangai Jr had allegedly been told by the Broncos to consider finding another home last month following the club’s abysmal 46-0 loss to South Sydney – news that shattered skipper Alex Glenn at the time.
“That’s a tough pill to swallow, to be honest,” Glenn said.
“I’m not in control of what happens with players going and coming but that’s not something you need to be released mid-game,” he said.
Pangai Jr was expected, at the time, to potentially join Wests Tigers on an immediate transfer.
But coach Kevin Walters shot down rumours of mid-season player moves just days later, claiming talk of player movement would be pushed to one side.
However, in that same report, he claimed Matthew Lodge “[was] not going anywhere”, with Lodge since completing a midseason move to the Warriors.