Brad Fittler's shock return to rugby league moved a step closer to reality on Monday as the Sydney Roosters and the NRL met to discuss his involvement in the Auckland Nines next month.
Fittler has signalled his intention to emerge from a 10-year hiatus to play in the inaugural tournament at Eden Park and the Roosters are quietly confident the game's governing body will help pave the way for the former Kangaroos skipper's return.
Roosters football boss Brian Canavan met with the NRL's chief operating officer Jim Doyle to discuss the issue at Rugby League Central at Moore Park as the NRL returned from its summer break.
"It was a formal discussion with the NRL seeking permission for Brad to return and covering topics such as contracts and insurance as is the convention,'' Canavan told AAP.
"We are hopeful that by the end of the week we will have done everything required and Brad's comeback can be officially confirmed.''
Canavan said weekend reports Fittler's involvement in the event could be in jeopardy because of anti-doping regulations were wrong.
Fittler has begun training with the NRL premiers whose full squad returned to training for the first time on Monday since their grand final triumph over Manly in October.
Sonny Bill Williams, whose involvement in the short-form tournament on the weekend of February 15-16 is up in the air, began his pre-season for what could be his final year in the NRL after he committed to New Zealand Rugby Union from 2015.
Each NRL team is required to submit their squad for the Nines by 5pm February 10.
Under tournament regulations each side is required to field one of their top five paid players and 12 of their top 25 players.