Roosters coach Trent Robinson has confirmed that talks have begun to try and lure All Blacks star TJ Perenara to the club as two more of his star players suffered injuries in Friday night's 20-4 loss to the Storm at AAMI Park.
Reports earlier in the day linked the 69-Test Kiwi international to the Tricolours and Robinson confirmed that initial talks have commenced about the 29-year-old joining the Roosters later this season.
"We have talked, but it is preliminary at this stage," Robinson said.
"We have had talks and we will see where it gets to."
Perenara is currently playing rugby for the NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes in Japan, but his contract with New Zealand rugby is due to expire at the end of this year.
Jake Friend's medical retirement and Sam Verrills's complications in his bid to return from an ACL injury have left the Roosters thin at hooker and Perenara is seen as a potential No.9 option should he switch codes.
Match Highlights: Storm v Roosters
Robinson famously lured Sonny Bill Williams back to the Roosters midway through last season, six years after the dual international had left Bondi to chase another rugby World Cup with the All Blacks, but he suggested a deal for Perenara to do similar was still a long way off.
"Let’s slow down a little bit there and let’s not get ahead of ourselves," Robinson said.
"Let's be happy with the report of discussions but let’s not get too far ahead with how is he going to play in the first game and all of that. We will take it step by step."
The bruising loss to the Storm was compounded by injuries to big men Siosiua Taukeiaho (ribs) and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (shoulder) in the second half.
"Siua broke a rib in a really bad spot so it was dangerous for him to continue playing and then Jared hurt his shoulder on his first carry and couldn't get any strength in it at all, so as soon as he went back out there I had to make the change after about three or four minutes," Robinson said.
He is hopeful of regaining star winger Brett Morris for the Roosters' Anzac Day clash with the Dragons, after the veteran was a late withdrawal against the Storm due to calf tightness, and said that Verrills was a good chance to return next week from his ACL injury.
Some late class from Tedesco