Aaron Woods is set to play for Cronulla this Friday night after completing a mid-season switch from Canterbury.
The long-mooted move appeared to be dead after weeks of Sharks overtures and a impasse over fees to snare the representative prop before the June 30 deadline.
But the Bulldogs on Tuesday morning released Woods just months into his four-year deal, paving the way for the Sharks to announce his recruitment on a three-and-a-half-year contract later on Tuesday afternoon.
“The Bulldogs and Aaron have decided that now is the right time for this move to happen,” club chief Andrew Hill said.
“It is a difficult decision for both parties, however, both Aaron and the club believe it is in their best interests for this to happen now.
“What it does allow is for Aaron to join his new club before the upcoming deadline and for the Bulldogs to be able to start to plan for the future with additional cap space.
“It has been well documented that we have had very little flexibility with our cap going forward and this will now allow us to look to the future with increased flexibility around our options.”
It’s a coup for Shane Flanagan’s side in their hunt for finals football and could help revive the career of Woods, who was overlooked for Brad Fittler’s series-winning NSW State of Origin team.
For the Bulldogs it will further ease pressure on a salary cap laden with heavily back-ended contracts a week after the departure of Moses Mbye to the Wests Tigers started the clean-up.
Woods is expected to be available for Cronulla’s away clash with the Warriors on Friday night, with the team departing for New Zealand on Wednesday.