All Blacks star TJ Perenara is dead keen on making the switch to rugby league, a former Wallabies captain has revealed.
Will Genia, who like Perenara is playing rugby in Japan, sent a one-word text message to the Kiwi halfback — “Roosters?” — when rumours started swirling he would code hop to help out the injury-ravaged tricolours.
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And Genia is sure Perenara’s commitment to playing the 13-man game is the real deal.
“He’s incredibly keen,” Genia told the Sydney Morning Herald. “It’s more a case of contractually, can he make it work with his Japanese club over here and what happens with New Zealand.
“He just said he was really keen and is hoping he can make it happen. I said, ‘Mate I think you’ll be amazing at it’. I would love to see him give it a go.”
The Roosters have been decimated by injury and are short in the hooking department after Jake Friend was forced into retirement this season because of repeated concussions.
It’s left coach Trent Robinson to think outside the box about how to salvage the season. Last week it was reported the Bondi club was chasing Perenara’s signature and interested in tabling a short-term deal that would last until the end of the year, worth roughly $130,000.
Although a halfback in union, it’s a position that is most similar to hooker when it comes to rugby league.
Perenara would be a valuable addition to the Roosters.Source:AAP
Former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, who has done some work alongside Robinson at the Roosters, told the Herald of Perenara: “From what I know of TJ he’s an unbelievably good professional. He’s a guy who is playing at the top level with one of the best teams in the world.
“If he’s making this move, I’d say he’d be pretty motivated to succeed. He’d strike me as the type of person who has got the courage to then go for it if the opportunity arose.”
Perenara, 29, has 67 caps for New Zealand and this year made the move to Japan from the Wellington-based Hurricanes. He’s contracted to Japanese club the Red Hurricanes until May 23 and given he’d need to quarantine if he came to Australia, Perenara wouldn’t be available for the Roosters until Round 14.
Perenara is technically still contracted to New Zealand Rugby until the end of the year and his home country wants to bring him back after his sabbatical in Japan. Hurricanes CEO Avan Lee said this month the footy star is “keen to be a Hurricane and be an All Black again”.
“He’s got choices and if there is truth to the Roosters rumour then obviously he’s more than able to have that conversation, so we only control our conversation with TJ and we know how much he loves the Hurricanes,” Lee added.
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