Canterbury prop David Klemmer has dropped a bombshell on the Bulldogs just a week out from the start of pre-season, requesting a release from the final two years of his deal from the club.
The world's premier front-rower is dealing with a range of personal issues and on Tuesday fronted the club about an immediate release from Belmore.
It is understood Klemmer has been struggling with some personal problems for some time and is looking to escape Sydney for a fresh start with his wife and three children.
Klemmer, who was one of the Kangaroos' best in the recent win over Tonga, and his wife Chloe met Bulldogs chief executive Andrew Hill on Tuesday to explain his situation and ask the club to be granted an immediate release.
His new manager, Isaac Moses, has been dealing with the matter since Hill was informed of Klemmer's request on Tuesday.
It is understood the Newcastle Knights, who have plenty of money in the salary cap and have been on the lookout for a front-rower to bolster their pack, would be the front-runner for his services should the Bulldogs agree to release the 24-year-old.
Canterbury shopped several of their big-name players around this year in a bid to ease their salary cap predicament, parting ways with Aaron Woods and Moses Mbye mid-season.
While the club has been actively trying to restructure its roster, they didn't count on Klemmer's potential departure.
Klemmer, who grew up as a staunch Canterbury fan, has been with the club since he was a teenager and has developed into a State of Origin and international player since debuting at the Bulldogs as a 19-year-old in 2013.
He was named the club's player of the year this year and has arguably been their most consistent performer over a number of seasons.
While he is renowned as one of the most aggressive players in the competition, he was lauded for his maturity during the club's Mad Monday drama when he was photographed helping his drunken teammates into taxis.
While Klemmer's departure would be a huge blow for the Bulldogs, they have Sauaso Sue and Corey Harawira-Naera heading to the club in 2019, as well as unearthing Rhyse Martin in the second half of the year.
NRL.com contacted the Bulldogs on Sunday night but a club spokesman said they would not be making a comment on the matter.