NRL 2021: Sydney Roosters ramp up TJ Perenara bid, as star players urge code switch

TJ Perenara could be a Sydney Rooster as early as next month, as the NRL club ramps up its bid for the veteran All Blacks halfback.

Reports Perenara was considering a shock code switch emerged last week, with NZ Kiwis hooker Brandon Smith fuelling speculation, revealing he had spoken to the rugby halfback recently and sent him footage of Penrith hooker Api Koroisau to study. reports the discussions are more than rumours and Perenara's acquisition is being discussed internally by Roosters players. 

The club has a hooker crisis, with veteran Jake Friend forced into retirement and understudy Freddy Lussick potentially sidelined for the season.

The club sees Perenara as a dual dummy-half, alongside inexperienced No.9 Sam Verrills, who has also just returned from injury.

Perenara has been a hot topic of discussion at Roosters training, with several players gushing in their assessment of the 29-year-old's skillset.

"I love watching the All Blacks, and he is definitely a good athlete and has a great passing game," says Kiwis centre Joseph Manu. "If he comes, it will be pretty exciting".

Second-row enforcer Angus Crichton is urging Perenara to make the switch and help push the Roosters to a third NRL title in four years.

The Australian schoolboys rugby star believes the 66-test veteran would transition seamlessly into the 13-man code.

"I've watched him play rugby and he's a class player," Crichton says. "With Jake having to hang up the boots unfortunately, we are a few men down in that position of hooker, so he would be great to have around the club.

"I'm a rugby fan and to have an All Black come into our team would be pretty cool.

"He will have to get used to making a fair few more tackles in rugby league than he does in rugby union, but I encourage anyone who wants to make the switch across to have a crack.

"It will be cool to get Sammy back in the mix and if TJ comes along, that is an added bonus. 

"If that is where he is at, I will definitely welcome him in."

Perenara is currently on a short-term deal with Japanese club NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes, which expires in May.

He is currently out of contract with NZ Rugby and would need to re-sign to be eligible to play for the All Blacks this season.