Bulldogs fullback Perrett back in familiar territory
Sam Perrett's ego took a hit when the Sydney Roosters urged him to negotiate with rival NRL clubs midway through the 2012 season.
But any thoughts of an inferiority complex were soon a distant memory when he was signed by the Canterbury Bulldogs almost immediately - and he is still self-assured at Belmore despite being asked to play out of position.
Perrett, who turned 29 on Wednesday, inherited the fullback role from Ben Barba - who wanted out of the club to return to Queensland - and although the Kiwis international will never display his predecessor's game-breaking ability, the move has still paid off for the competition leaders.
Unsurprisingly, Perrett does not figure prominently in the tackle-breaking stats heading into a round 10 clash with the Warriors in Hamilton tomorrow - fellow fullbacks Greg Inglis, Anthony Milford and Jarryd Hayne are in a different league on that score.
Yet his experience and courage complement an efficient rather than eye-catching back three also comprising Mitch Brown and Chase Stanley, who made his Kiwis debut alongside Perrett during the disastrous tour of Great Britain and France in 2007.
Perrett, who made 148 appearances for the Roosters, has started at fullback in all nine Bulldogs games, his first extended run at No 1 since he covered for Anthony Minichiello 16 times in 2009.
The 21-test Kiwi expected to start this season on the wing, but the Bulldogs' inability to sign a replacement for Barba - Josh Hoffman, Kevin Locke and Brett Stewart were on the wishlist - forced him to switch to the last line of defence.
The nuggety finisher was one of the most effective runners from dummy half, but the priority is now making yardage with kick returns.
"I can still get in there and do it.
"Obviously I've got to pick and choose because you've got a lot more work and effort to make in other areas as well," said Perrett, who never feels pressure to play as a Barba clone.
"We're all individuals. We've all got our strengths and weaknesses," said Perrett, who lived in Hamilton until his family moved to the Gold Coast when he was 13.
Perrett spent one year at Church College in Temple View and was looking forward to the clash at Waikato Stadium.
"I always love going back to see the family; as long as we put in a good performance, it's all good."