Josh Morris set to stay a Bulldog for life

Canterbury centre Josh Morris is set to finish his career at the Bulldogs and ignore the appeal of returning to the Dragons to play alongside his twin, Brett.

Fairfax Media understands the NSW centre, who is off contract at the end of this season, will re-sign with the Bulldogs as early as next week, with club officials adamant the deal will be done before the start of the season.

Bulldogs chief executive Raelene Castle said the club was in "advanced stages of negotiations".

It is believed the deal will result in Morris remaining at Belmore until the end of 2018, when he will finish the season as a 32-year-old.

St George Illawarra chief executive Peter Doust has made no secret of his desire to bring Morris back to the Dragons to play with brother, Brett.

However it is understood the Dragons are yet to make a formal offer to lure the 27-year-old back to the club where his NRL career began in 2007 under former coach Nathan Brown.

There has been plenty of interest in his services beyond the end of this season, but for Morris it was always going to be a decision between the Dragons and Bulldogs.

St George Illawarra have plenty of depth in the centres with Gerard Beale and Dylan Farrell to start the season in the No.3 and 4 jerseys, with rookies Charly Runciman and Nathan Green waiting in the wings.

It is understood the Dragons were reluctant to chase Morris at the expense of losing their two juniors – Runciman (20) and Green (21) – who are off contract at the end of 2014.

It is quite ironic given Morris was forced to leave the Dragons to link with the Bulldogs in 2009 because the club decided to invest in the older Mark Gasnier, who within months of Morris signing with Canterbury left to play rugby union in France.

The Dragons have already indicated to Runciman, who starred for NSW in the under 20s Origin match last year, that they see him as part of the club's long-term plans.

Morris has also held discussions with Bulldogs coach Des Hasler in regards to where he fits into his plans.

Despite making a fist of limited opportunities at fullback last year in Ben Barba's absence, Morris is strongly against making the permanent switch to the custodian's role and potentially give up his stranglehold on the NSW centre jersey.

Morris was one of the first players picked by Blues coach Laurie Daley last season and is expected to partner Michael Jennings in the centres for NSW again this year.

The Kiama junior will start the season at left centre, with former South Sydney fullback Tyrone Phillips tipped to wear the No.1 jersey vacated when Barba defected to the Brisbane Broncos.

Barba will line up against his former club for the first time on Saturday when the two teams meet at the NRL Auckland Nines at Eden Park.

The story Josh Morris set to stay a Bulldog for life first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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