Two clubs emerge early in Addo-Carr sweepstakes
The Tigers and the Bulldogs are leading the chase for Josh Addo-Carr with both clubs willing to offer the homesick Melbourne star an immediate deal.
While South Sydney claimed they were not interested in signing the NSW State of Origin flyer, Wests and Canterbury are both ready to strike and hopeful of landing Addo-Carr in a season-changing coup.
The Storm sparked a recruitment frenzy on Friday when CEO Dave Donaghy said Melbourne would release Addo-Carr at the end of 2020 on compassionate grounds should a deal that includes compensation be reached.
News Corp Australia understands Addo-Carr may be released immediately should a club be able to provided a like-for-like player in a swap.
Addo-Carr met with coach Craig Bellamy last week and requested a release from his contract so he and his pregnant partner could return to Sydney to live near family.
The Bulldogs are already preparing to pounce with CEO Andrew Hill declaring his interest in the game turning flyer.
"We are always interested in quality players,'' Hill said.
"And Josh Addo-Carr is certainly one of the best players in the game in his position. We would certainly be willing to talk to Josh at the right time.''
It can be revealed that the Tigers, the Roosters and South Sydney have also been linked to Addo-Carr, although the Rabbitohs have ruled out making a move.
Having missed out on Latrell Mitchell, the Tigers are cashed up and ready to bring Addo-Carr home.
A former Tiger, Addo-Carr is seen as both a perfect club man and the strike weapon that could transform Wests into a top-four team.
With little to offer Melbourne in terms of a swap, the Tigers would have to compensate the Storm with cash.
Even though they have room for Addo-Carr in 2020, the Tigers may have to wait until 2021 with the Storm unlikely to release the star without a ready-made replacement.
The Bulldogs have confirmed they have a spot left for 2020 and will enter the race to sign Addo-Carr.
With 13 players coming off contract at the end of the next year, the Bulldogs also have the cash to make a big play for Carr should the Storm refused to let him go for the coming season.
The Bulldogs may consider offering up a player as a swap and may tempt Melbourne with Jayden Okunbor or Reimis Smith.
Few at the Storm will forget the 90m try Okunbor scored at AMMI Stadium.
Addo-Carr would provide the Bulldogs with the strike-power they desperately need.
Rabbitohs boss Shane Richardson ruled out signing Addo-Carr amid speculation that the club was willing to make a swap for Alex Johnston.
In the hunt for Latrell Mitchell, Addo Carr could also prove a tempting alternative for the Roosters centre as a South Sydney fullback.
Addo Carr is close to several South Sydney players, including recently re-signed playmaker Cody Walker.
The Storm could be tempted by a swap deal with either James Roberts or Braidon Burns, but are unlikely to take on Johnston.
"We won't be looking for outside backs,'' said CEO Shane Richardson.
"We are very healthy in that department.''
Never rule out the Roosters.
With Latrell Mitchell likely to leave and both Brett Morris and Ryan Hall coming off contract at the end of the year, the Roosters will be in the market for an outside back.
More likely to make a play for Addo-Carr for 2021, the Roosters also have the cash to satisfy any of Melbourne's demands. And they usually get their man.