Pangai looms as Dogs' big addition to pack

Tevita Pangai has the potential to be the biggest recruit for Canterbury's NRL forward pack since James Graham in 2012, with the Brisbane big man set to sign.

TEVITA PANGAI. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Tevita Pangai looms as the biggest recruit for Canterbury's pack in a decade, with the want-away Brisbane forward set to join at the Bulldogs on a three-year deal.

Pangai is expected to officially sign with Canterbury in coming days, after knocking back a two-month pursuit from the Wests Tigers for his signature.

The 25-year-old becomes the fifth big-name player to sign on for next year, after the likes of Josh Addo-Carr, Matt Burton, Brent Naden and Matt Dufty.

But crucially he is the first noted forward.

Since James Graham joined in 2012, the Bulldogs have largely focused the majority of their recruitment in outside backs.

Tony Williams joined the club for an up-and-down stint in 2014, while Aaron Woods' stay only lasted 14 games after arriving in 2018.

But in Pangai they have a genuine X-factor who can play in both the middle and on the edge as a second-rower.

The Tongan international has had a chequered history at the Broncos, including managing just nine of 20 games last year due to on-field suspensions and COVID breaches.

But at his best he can be a rampaging runner of the ball, busting tackles and providing more offloads than any other player in the NRL this year.

Where Pangai plays out the rest of this year remains a mystery.

He was still training with the Broncos on Tuesday, and the Bulldogs are yet to agree to take them off his hands yet.

The forward also still has one game to serve on an three-game ban for a crusher tackle.

Whispers of an early departure to Penrith on a three-month deal were quickly put to bed by the Panthers on Tuesday.

It's understood the club did speak to him briefly earlier in the season for a short stint, but there is no room in their salary cap to make it work.

"We would have welcomed in with open arms," Panthers co-captain Isaah Yeo said on Tuesday.

"That's obviously not what higher up has thought was best for the team ... going on (CEO Brian) Fletcher's comments.

"I guess it would have been strange but it's not something we have to worry about."

Meanwhile the Bulldogs are also believed to remain open to the possibility of picking up axed Dragons forward Paul Vaughan for next season.

The club also re-signed local junior Jayden Okunbor on a two-year deal on Tuesday, just days after new GM Phil Gould vowed to work closely with their pathways system.