Oates gambles with rejection of Bulldogs' contract offer
COREY Oates has reportedly turned down a deal with the Bulldogs and remains on the NRL's open market.
The Queensland State of Origin star is out of contract with the Broncos at the end of 2018 - and coach Wayne Bennett has previously admitted the club won't be able to match the offers rival clubs intend to table.
Reports on Monday night indicated Oates had already knocked back a big-money deal from the Bulldogs - prompting Canterbury's interest in Oates to cool.
Oates remains at loggerheads with the Broncos over his insistence that he sees himself as a second-rower worthy of the increased pay packets those players are able to command on the NRL open market.
Oates' declaration that he wanted to play in the second row this season was ultimately shut down by Bennett after a brief trial early this season.
The Bulldogs' interest in Oates was reportedly the first case of a rival club offering the star winger money, but the 23-year-old's lukewarm interest in the offer has reportedly resulted in the Dogs pulling the deal.
According to The Courier-Mail and The Australian, Oates' decision to knock back the Dogs leaves the door open for rival Sydney clubs to slide in with offers expected to reach $700,000 per season.
Channel 7's Chris Garry reported on Monday night that Parramatta, St George-Illawarra and Newcastle have all requested face-to-face meetings with Oates in August, when the try-scorer will reportedly be able to negotiate with clubs following the end of his management contract with his player agent.
Channel 9's Ben Dobbin reported on Monday night that the Broncos would respond to the interest in Oates by tabelling a new deal in "the next few days".
However, according to reports, the Broncos will still be up to $400,000-per-season short of Oates' $700,000 price tag.
The Australian reported on Tuesday that the Broncos believed their roster was already stacked with too many emerging talents in the forward pack to justify making a big-money offer to Oates to play in the forwards.
Bennett admitted the club would not be able to budge from its low-ball offer to Oates.
"The reality is we can't match the offers for Corey," Bennett told The Courier-Mail.
"Look, I hope we keep him, but I really don't know if we can.
"He's a hell of a winger and he knows that's his position. It's become a bit of a game now where Corey and me joke about it (him wanting to play back row), but he knows he's a winger at the Broncos.
"With the amount of players we've had to retain, we can't compete with the offers for Corey, so I guess it's up to him and whether he wants to stay at our club."