Rugby-bound Warriors skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has endorsed TJ Perenara's possible NRL move after his own club baulked at the All Black half's asking price.
Perenara is understood to be giving a code switch serious consideration as he weighs up his next career move, with the Roosters one option for the 69-Test Kiwi international.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson confirmed on Friday night after his side's loss to the Storm that preliminary talks had been held with Perenara, who shapes as a potential hooking option given their raft of injuries in the position and Jake Friend's medical retirement last week.
Perenara, 29, is understood to have also been pitched to Warriors officials as a mid-season signing once his commitments in Japanese rugby wrap up in late May.
But while the Warriors have also been in the market for a No.9 addition to their squad, Perenara's price tag put the brakes on their early interest.
It is unclear what terms Perenara is seeking with his next deal, though a multi-year contract would seem likely to give him time to adjust to the 13-a-side game.
Perenara is the cousin of current NRL referee and former five-club journeyman Henry, while his brother Marcus played in one game for the Eels in 2006.
He was given permission to miss this year's Super Rugby competition to pursue a short-term deal in Japan and Wellington Hurricanes officials remain confident he will return to the club in 2022.
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Tuivasa-Sheck will tread the opposite path next season to join Auckland with an eye to the All Blacks' 2023 Rugby World Cup campaign.
He believes Perenara – who leads the national side's haka before each Test – has the skills to thrive as an NRL hooker and the durability to cope with the added workload that would come defending in the middle.
"You can't fault class and TJ is class," Tuivasa-Sheck said on Friday.
"I think, no matter where he goes, he'll do well.
"He's a tough player, he's built tough. It's a different type of game, [but] I think - like anything - if he learns the technique, how to wrestle and all that, he'll be good technically and I think he's a fit enough player to be in the game for long.
"It'll be different for him, but like I said, he's a classy player. He'll learn and do whatever he needs to work for him.
"I enjoy watching him lead his pack around.
"He's always really vocal, [has] really good footwork and a good running game so there's no problem there. He'll do well wherever he goes."
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Perenara is contracted to NZ Rugby until the end of 2021, though former All Blacks great and foundation Warriors player Sir John Kirwan spoke to uncertainty over his future by declaring he shouldn't be re-signed on his return from Japan.
An early release from Perenara's NZR contract would be required for him to be signed before the NRL's August 2 deadline for top 30 rosters.
Hurricanes CEO Avan Lee told NZME that rugby league links to Perenara didn't come as a shock.
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Lee said however when he touched base with Perenara last week he had been told he was "keen to be a Hurricane and an All Black again".
"I had a long Zoom call with him and his manager and spoke about the Hurricanes and the All Blacks," Lee said.
"We didn't talk about rugby league, just talked about the Hurricanes and obviously we're keen to get him home. He said he's 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.
"If he comes home and is playing anywhere near what he normally would then he'll be in the All Blacks as well at Rugby World Cup 2023."
Tuivasa-Sheck's immediate focus is getting the Warriors' season back on track after last Friday's upset loss to Manly when they travel to Kogarah on Sunday to face the in-form St George Illawarra side.
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