High profile teammates of All Blacks and Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara have endorsed his ability to be a potent rugby league player amid reports he is in talks to sign with the Sydney Roosters.
Perenara is "seriously considering" a switch to the NRL after the Roosters reached out to his agent Warren Alcock, 1 News reports.
The 29-year-old Perenara, who is currently playing in the Japan Top League with the Red Hurricanes, is contracted to New Zealand Rugby until the end of this year but is free to negotiate with other sports clubs ahead of that end date.
Upon reading reports of a possible code-switch, fellow Hurricane, All Black and code-switcher Ngani Laumape remarked that Perenara would immediately become one of the best players in the NRL if the signing became a reality.
"If this is real news, he would be the best hooker in the competition. No doubt," Laumape posted on his Twitter account.
"The man smashes forwards in rugby and imagine his left foot out of dummy half, kicking them 40/20."
Laumape's opinion comes from a place of experience, having switched to rugby union after three years playing with the New Zealand Warriors in the NRL before sharing the locker room with Perenara at the Hurricanes for five seasons of Super Rugby.
Fellow Hurricane and All Black Ardie Savea backed up Laumpae's view by replying to his teammate's post on his own account.
"Oath @Tj_Perenara hardest working man I know."
Other high profile rugby players to comment positively on the possible switch included one-time Kiwis international Brad Takairangi and former Blues and Hurricanes player Pita Ahki.
Meanwhile, Hurricanes CEO Avan Lee told NZME the club is confident they have a contractual package that Perenara will be happy with if he wants to remain on New Zealand soil.
"I'm pretty confident – I know what we need to do to get TJ home but it doesn't surprise me there might be interest from other sports or at least rugby league.
"He loves rugby league – it's not really [a] surprise, when you've been in and around professional rugby for a while you know it's a pretty fluid process."
However, former All Blacks and Warriors winger John Kirwan told Sky Sport's Breakdown he believes the Hurricanes shouldn't be too quick to re-sign a player he believes won't be at his best for the next World Cup.
"If you think about TJ, he's been a great servant of the game, [but] he's getting into the twilight of his career," Kirwan said earlier this week. "And for me, there are guys that are starting to stack up that are going to give us another two World Cups."