All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara is set to decide within days whether to switch codes and join the Sydney Roosters.
Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson said on Thursday that he expected an answer from Perenara by Monday and was hopeful the 29-year-old would take up the challenge of playing in the NRL.
Perenara told reporters in a Zoom interview on Tuesday night from his current base in Japan that he was confident of making a successful transition to hooker if he decided to make the move.
However, Robinson said the Roosters were interested in signing Perenara for his leadership and character as much as his playing ability.
"His character has been there to see for a lot of people over a long period of time," Robinson said.
Knights v Roosters - Round 8
"He has captained his club [Wellington Hurricanes], he has played for the All Blacks 64 times and led something very sacred to them, in the Haka, many times as well.
"He has got a big decision to make and it has been great discussing it with them and we will see where it gets to over the next few days. By Monday, I would say, we will know where that is at."
The Roosters began considering an approach to Perenara during an early-season hooking crisis, which forced Robinson to select fifth choice hooker Ben Marshke for the round five trip to Melbourne.
Sam Verrills, widely regarded as the club’s long-term hooker, has since returned from a knee reconstruction but Jake Friend has retired and Freddy Lussick suffered a broken arm.
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Perenara has previously expressed an interest in playing in the NRL and with his Japanese rugby union commitments due to finish in May he became an option for the Roosters.
"You have got to think about what your team needs and then you think about what are your options available," Robinson said.
"If you have got a narrow vision on it you are going to come up with limited ideas and rugby union is close to our sport.
"We have obviously had one [hooker] retire and one have a season-ending injury and we feel like the man [Perenara] is a man that we would love to have in the colours so we will see in the next few days."
Asked if he had any concerns about the extra tackling Perenara would be required to do, Robinson said: "That’s why people like that enjoy challenges, and that is a part of the desire to test yourself. We are here to help that if it becomes that way in a few days."
Perenara believes he will have little trouble adapting to hooker or the No.14 role, suggesting that fitting into a new team mid-season may be a greater challenge.
"I feel the game for a hooker suits the style of game I like to play already in rugby, although knowing that there will be more tackles to be made in league," he said.
"The fitness - going back and forth 10 metres and getting up off the deck – will be a little bit more compared to rugby so I understand that there will be some conditioning things I will need to adapt to but I do think that I can be successful in the league as well."
"But it's something that I don't think would be the biggest challenge going to the game. I think the time constraint of entering a team later in the year and trying to gel with players and win a championship - that would be the biggest constraint."
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