The Dolphins and Brisbane are engaged in an old-fashioned stand-off for Herbie Farnworth's signature as the biggest battle yet between the new NRL rivals intensifies.
The Broncos' left centre is off contract and a target for the Redcliffe-based Dolphins' entry next season.
The Englishman's form has surged again after a promising 2021 season, the 22-year-old now making both clubs sweat as they await his decision.
"We've spoken to him, after that just have to wait 'til they tell you what they're doing," Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett said on Wednesday.
"Deadlines are a waste of time, they never work. If you want the player bad enough you've just got to wait sometimes."
Asked how he felt about the Dolphins "going hard" at their man, Brisbane coach Kevin Walters was defiant.
"The Broncos are going pretty hard for him too," he said.
"He played his 50th game for us last week, we expect to see him running out in Broncos colours next year that's for sure.
"There's a lot (for him) to consider; Herbie's pretty popular among other clubs but he's no more popular there than what he is here.
"I feel he belongs here, cut his teeth here and I'd love to see him stay on."
Bennett maintains his confidence that his squad, which now boasts 13 top-30 signings, can be competitive as their hunt for a genuine marquee man continues.
"We've had more players signed since last time we all had a talk," Bennett smirked.
"It's progressing and we're happy with what we're doing."
He said any player movement at Canterbury after coach Trent Barrett's exit would be incidental, while he indicated Newcastle had won the race for sought-after English prospect Kai Pearce-Paul.
"Their (Bulldogs') best players they'll want to keep, so after that I'll have to wait and see what falls out," Bennett said.
"I have a high regard for Tevita (Pangai), but he's not on our hit list at the moment.
"He's on a three-year contract there, so I don't know he's real keen to give that up.