Warriors centre Konrad Hurrell's prospects of returning to rugby have been ignited, with Chiefs coach Dave Rennie admitting he'd consider him for a Super Rugby contract.
However, the NRL club is ready to fight to retain Hurrell's services. The centre is contracted until 2015, with the club holding what's understood to be an option to extend the deal a further year.
Warriors boss Wayne Scurrah said: "Konrad's contract has not changed. He is a popular guy to have around the club and we're committed to his development. We see him as a long-term Warrior.''
Hurrell's agent, Amon Ta'akimoeaka, also said no change was on the agenda.
"Konrad's not going anywhere. He's still contracted to the Warriors but I always have to look out for my client's best interests. Clubs [and franchises] will always be interested and asking questions why he's not playing. There are always rumours going around.
"I've spoken to Konnie and he's 100 per cent dedicated to his Warriors' contract. There's no animosity to him being dropped. He's professional, as are the Warriors.''
The Chiefs were guarded when approached by the Herald on Sunday on Friday about a Hurrell transfer. Post-match last night, coach Dave Rennie said the league player had been discussed as a potential transfer target.
"We were sitting at the table talking `contracting' about lots of people. We spoke about Konrad Hurrell, who had been mentioned to us. We haven't spoken to him or his agent, so whether they're just sort of hamming it up to assist with the overall contract, I'm not sure.''
Rennie suggested it was good to have midfield options, with Bundee Aki set to go offshore and Robbie Fruean's health under scrutiny.
"We're pretty keen to see how he bounces back and whether he is an option for us next year.
"Ultimately, Konrad's going to have to want to leave league and come back to rugby. He's going to have to want to be a Chief. So there's a hell of a lot of water to go under the bridge. It's not even close at this stage.
"He's incredibly powerful and it's not like he's been out of the game 15 years. I think he'd cope easily. But, in the end, he's going to have to want to change. I'm not aware whether he's happy to see out his Warriors contract or go to another league club.''
Hurrell has a rugby pedigree, having played for Auckland Grammar's 1st XV. He played arguably his finest league game of the year last week against Melbourne, despite a mixed season where he's been demoted to reserve grade at times. His power running and ability to break the line could appeal to the two-time Super Rugby champions who have lacked physical menace in midfield since Sonny Bill Williams swapped his Chiefs No 12 jersey for a spot with the Sydney Roosters in the NRL.
Rennie was confident any perceived Hurrell defensive frailties could be corrected because generally it was due to technical inadequacies rather than a lack of heart. - additional reporting