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Hasler rubbishes Graham exit rumours

NZN 12/04/2017 Steve Zemek

Canterbury coach Des Hasler has poured cold water on suggestions skipper James Graham and Josh Reynolds are set to be squeezed out of Belmore.

The Bulldogs have been linked with several high-profile NRL players on the open market including James Tedesco, Aaron Woods, Kieran Foran and Cooper Cronk, leading to suggestions Graham and Reynolds could be moved on.

Graham is signed with the Bulldogs until the end of 2018, however, this week he said he was facing up to the reality that Woods' possible recruitment could lead to him being forced to find another club either next year or in 2019.

The 31-year-old Englishman says he understands why Hasler and CEO Raelene Castle would target Woods.

However, Hasler moved to assure fans that Graham would see out his contract.

When asked if Graham would stay put next year, Hasler quipped: "If the salary cap is $20 million we're a chance."

He then said, "Of course he is."

It's been speculated that the off-contract Reynolds could be asked to find a new home with the possible arrival of Foran - who shares close ties with Hasler - and Cronk.

Reynolds and playmaking partner Moses Mbye have been criticised for not taking greater control of the team and the common knock on them is that they are both ball-runners rather than organisers.

A Cronk or Foran could provide the perfect foil for Mbye, who is signed until the end of 2020.

Yet Hasler said the Bulldogs were deep in negotiations with Reynolds and were attempting to convince him to stay.

"That's speculation, purely," Hasler said of speculation surrounding Reynolds' exit.

"Negotiations and discussions are quite fruitful.

"He's an important part (of the club)."

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