Former Penrith Panthers utility Jaeman Salmon has encouraged ex-teammate Jarome Luai to sign with the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Salmon has joined the Canterbury Bulldogs for the 2024 campaign where he will fight for a spot in the second-row. Despite criticism around Canterbury’s recruitment strategy, Salmon was up front prior to the Christmas break in suggesting he will be fighting for a second-row spot, rather than settling for a utility role.

A former half himself, Salmon was a crucial cog in the Penrith machine throughout their three-peat of premierships, but with a tightening salary cap and a better offer from the Bulldogs on the table, the versatile 24-year-old made the decision to grab a fresh start for 2024.

Salmon joins other ex-Penrith players in Matt Burton and Viliame Kikau who are already at the club, while Stephen Crichton joins him in making the switch for 2024.

Speaking to Zero Tackle, Salmon said he would love Luai to join him at Belmore in 2025, although understood the star half must do what’s best for his own future.

“A bit of advice for Romy [Jarome Luai] would be, he’s got to do what’s best for his family but obviously we’d love to have him at the Dogs,” Salmon said.

“Everyone knows Jarome’s a competitor, he’s a winner. His resume speaks for himself; three premierships, Origin series, Grand Finals, Samoa World Cup.

“Everyone knows what Romy is going to bring to the club. He’s competitive, he’s a winner, he trains like he plays.

“He’s a good leader by action and mate, we’d love to have him with the Dogs. So obviously he’s got to what’s best for his family, but we’d love to have him.”

Cameron Ciraldo’s side have been panned for their recruitment strategy, with Salmon joined by the likes of Kurt Mann, Connor Tracey, Blake Taaffe and Drew Hutchison as players regarded as utilities.

The club, however, have weighed up an offer to bring Luai to Belmore in 2025, although it’s believed the Wests Tigers are favourites to secure the New South Wales State of Origin five-eighth’s signature.

Luai had reportedly told those close to him he had already decided to leave the Panthers, having wanted to make a decision before he returned to pre-season training in mid-December, however, no announcement has been made yet with Penrith reportedly increasing their offer at the 11th hour in a bid to retain the five-eighth.

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It’s understood the difference in money between the Bulldogs and Tigers could total around $300,000 per year, while it’s unclear how much money has been offered by the Bulldogs, or whether an official deal has landed on the negotiating table of Luai’s management.

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