The final piece in St George Illawarra's 2019 team jigsaw will soon be in place with a Dragons deal believed to be imminent for Parramatta playmaker Corey Norman.
St George Illawarra announced on Thursday they had re-signed NSW back-rower Tariq Sims for three more seasons and thrown an NRL lifeline to ex-Brisbane flyer Lachlan Maranta.
But another coup is set to be announced as early as Friday with Norman poised to link with the Dragons on a three-year deal.
Norman, 28, is believed to have secured a release from the final year of his Eels contract on Thursday.
Norman's manager Paul Sutton is overseas but is expected to finalise a Dragons deal by week's end.
Eels five-eighth Norman is expected to move to fullback for St George Illawarra, throwing the future of Dragons No.1 Matt Dufty - who only recently re-signed until the end of 2019 - in limbo.
Norman is tipped to step into the playmaker role in 2020 with Dragons pivot Gareth Widdop expected to leave for the English Super League at the end of next year.
While there was no official word on Norman - who has played 169 NRL games - from either clubs on Thursday, the Dragons still had plenty of signing news to announce.
Sims capped a stellar NRL season by inking a new deal that will keep him at the club until the end of 2022.
Sims was the 2018 Dragons' Player of the Year after a State of Origin debut for the Blues.
"To have the chance to extend my time with this special playing group, it was too good an opportunity to go anywhere else," Sims said.
Dragons roster manager Ian Millward said Sims' retention was critical for 2019.
"He's a very crucial piece of the jigsaw, locking him in long term, along with (Jack) de Belin, (Tyson) Frizell, (Paul) Vaughan and (James) Graham," he said.
The Dragons also sprung a surprise by signing Maranta on a one-year deal after the ex-Broncos winger spent the past two years with Super Rugby outfit the Queensland Reds.
"We were looking for a squad member and I must stress that Lachlan isn't a replacement for Kurt Mann nor a replacement for Nene Macdonald," Millward said.
Utility Mann has linked with Newcastle to nail down a hooker starting spot while ex-Dragons flyer Macdonald has signed with North Queensland.
Australian Associated Press