TJ Perenara is serious about a switch to rugby league and is texting NRL players for tips on how to prepare himself for the rigours of the sport.
Melbourne Storm hooker Brandon Smith revealed the All Black has been inquiring about how he can best prepare himself to play the 13-man code, suggesting that talk of the switch isn’t about leveraging up a new deal with the NZR.
Perenara has been in talks with the Sydney Roosters and the NRL outfit are said to be keen on the 29-year-old, who would likely play hooker or scrumhalf in league.
Smith told Fox Sports in Australia that: “He messages a bloke like myself in February and he was saying he was going to make the code switch,” Smith said on Sunday Night with Matty Johns on Fox League.
“He was asking how does he physically and mentally prep his body. He was asking me to send him clips of Api Koroisau to learn deception around the ruck.
“He’s someone who’s already been around professional sport for so long, asking somebody like me – a nobody – it’s awesome. It just shows he’s got a lot of respect for the game of rugby league. He messages us every game we play about who went well and stuff and he’s a great supporter of it and it can only be good for the game.”
Perenara is currently playing in Japan, but news that he is eager to make the switch to the NRL has made headlines in rugby union and beyond.
“I think he’d be really good,” Smith said. “He’s a massive talker, that’s what I’ve heard from Aaron Smith and he’s also really good at organising the boys around him. In rugby league, as a hooker, that’s a great trait to have.
“He’s got a mentality of a champion, he’s been an All Black for years and years.”
Code-hopping groundbreaker Sonny Bill Williams has given his seal of approval to the move and believes his former All Black team-mate can make the leap to league.
“What a special addition that would be,” Williams, who is now part of the Roosters’ backroom staff, told Nine. “I know him personally and if he came over here he would be under no illusion the work that would need to be put in to be a successful rugby league player.
“He comes from a league background. I’ve talked to him at length about how much he loves rugby league and he would love to give it a crack one day. Most likely we will see him soon, hopefully.”
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