All Blacks star TJ Perenara will be the best No. 9 in the NRL — if he joins the Roosters — according to All Blacks stars.
The playmaker dropped a bombshell on Thursday night when it was revealed his agent has been in contact with the Roosters about stepping into the hooker position where the club has been decimated by injuries.
Perenara, who has moved to Japanese Rugby this year, is reportedly considering the move to the NRL — and a report on Thursday claimed Perenara has also made contact with other NRL clubs.
The Australian’s Brent Read told Triple M on Thursday night Perenara has also had contact with other NRL clubs.
“I don’t think the deal’s done. Certainly there’s been interest there,” he told Triple M’s Rush Hour with Mark Geyer.
“He’s been offered to NRL clubs, not just the Roosters. He’s been offered to other NRL clubs as well, but the Roosters appeal to him.”
The code switch looms as a huge gamble for NRL clubs, but Wallabies legends and all Blacks stars were on Friday making scary predictions about how good the All Blacks halfback and former Hurricanes co-captain would be in the NRL.
TJ Perenara has the mongrel needed in rugby league.Source:Getty Images
Upon reading reports of a possible code-switch, fellow Hurricane, All Black and code-switcher Ngani Laumape remarked that Perenara would immediately become one of the best players in the NRL if the signing became a reality.
“If this is real news, he would be the best hooker in the competition. No doubt,” Laumape posted on his Twitter account.
“The man smashes forwards in rugby and imagine his left foot out of dummy half, kicking them 40/20.”
Fellow Hurricane and All Black Ardie Savea backed up Laumpae’s view by replying to his teammate’s post on his own account.
“Oath @Tj_Perenara hardest working man I know.”
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The New Zealand Herald reports other high profile rugby players to comment positively on the possible switch included one-time Kiwis international Brad Takairangi and former Blues and Hurricanes player Pita Ahki.
Wallabies great Matt Burke also spoke out about how good Perenara would be in the rival 13-man code.
“He’s one of the toughest blokes going around,” Burke told Big Sports Breakfast.
“Whenever you watch the history of the games involving the All Blacks he is… one – he’s got a great pass. Two – he’s just tenacious. Three – he’s got that bit of mongrel about him, he was always a really difficult player to play against and if you watch him run around the park there, he organises like a genius, like a classic No.9 in union or a nine in rugby league.
“I reckon he’ll make the switch and do it really well.
The Wallabies will be happy to see the back of TJ Perenara.Source:AFP
“He’s getting on a bit, he’s 29. He’s had a season over in Japan. There was talk last night, I was watching with the old legend John Kirwan saying ‘maybe I’d just let him go now, bring the younger guys through, looking at France [World Cup] 2023. You get to the stage where you’re looking at the succession plan.”
The Hurricanes, however, are not giving up on bringing Perenara back to the Super Rugby club.
Hurricanes CEO Avan Lee told NZME the club is confident they have a contractual package that Perenara will be happy with if he wants to remain on New Zealand soil.
“I’m pretty confident – I know what we need to do to get TJ home but it doesn’t surprise me there might be interest from other sports or at least rugby league.
“He loves rugby league – it’s not really [a] surprise, when you’ve been in and around professional rugby for a while you know it’s a pretty fluid process.”
The Roosters, meanwhile, are in the middle of an injury crisis with star playmaker Luke Keary and former captain Jake Friend headlining the list of players unavailable.
Friend retired due to repeated concussion issues. The Roosters have been decimated in options to replace Friend at hooker ever since.
Sam Verrills is the next best hooker at the club, but he won’t be due back from a knee injury until Round 8 at the earliest and possibly as late as Round 10.
Five-eighth Lachlan Lam, who can also play dummyhalf is not due back from a knee injury until Round 9, while utility Adam Keighran is not back from a wrist injury until Round 7.
That’s where Perenara could emerge.
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