Melbourne have found their Nicho Hynes replacement with Canterbury back Nick Meaney on the verge of signing a two-year deal with the NRL premiers.
Meaney met with Storm coach Craig Bellamy last week, and had planned to sit down with the Bulldogs during the bye round to allow them one last pitch.
However he has now made the call to head south, with confirmation on his future expected shortly.
The move comes as another blow to the Bulldogs, who endured a rotten Friday.
They first saw Dylan Napa headline a list of three players forced into isolation after visiting a COVID-19 hotspot, before Shaun Johnson chose to skip them and return to the Warriors.
Meanwhile Meaney has made no secret of the lure to join Melbourne.
He earlier this week compared them to the NBA's LA Lakers, claiming any player would want to play with them.
However he had his family's future to consider, with a baby boy due in October and decisions to be made on where he wants to raise him.
"You look at any other sport. You look at the Lakers in the NBA or whoever the top team is in the AFL, any player will want to play for them," Meaney said on Sunday.
"But at the same time we only play footy for 10 years in our life if we are lucky. So you have to make the right decision for your family and your future.
"It's game time, your financial options and long-term where you want to live.
"They (Melbourne) have lost Nicho Hynes so they need to have someone for that back-up fullback and utility back."
That lure eventually won out, with Hynes having gone from a bench player at the end of last year to a Cronulla-bound superstar filling in for Ryan Papenhuyzen during parts of this season.
The move leaves the Bulldogs looking at an even newer-look backline for next year, with Josh Addo-Carr and Brent Naden both set to arrive.
Australian Associated Press