Experienced Warriors centre Jerome Ropati expects the next four weeks to give him a firm idea of whether he’ll be back playing rugby league next year.

南宁桑拿

Ropati is on an expanded five-man bench to face Penrith in Auckland, raising the prospect that he will make just his third NRL appearance of the year on Sunday.

After his two previous seasons were cut short by serious knee injuries, the 28-year-old has again spent time on the sidelines in 2013.

He says he hasn’t decided whether he’ll be back next year, “but I’m leaning towards that way”.

A key factor will be how things go over the final four rounds of the regular season.

“It will confirm a lot of things that I do have in my mind as to what I want to do next year,” he said.

Ropati’s last match for the Warriors was in early May in the 25-24 win over Gold Coast, before he was hit by a hamstring problem.

He worked his way back by turning out for the Auckland Vulcans in the New South Wales Cup and last weekend travelled to Gosford as cover for the Warriors in their match against Manly.

The 11-Test Kiwi admits the road to recovery over the past 2-1/2 years has been tough, especially with his body not responding as he had hoped.

“After doing everything I can, it still isn’t responding the way I would like it to,” he said.

“However, I’m in good shape right now and the mind is quite as ease.”

Ropati is completing a one-year contract with the Warriors, for whom he has made 140 appearances, the first 10 years ago this month.

He has had discussions with the club about his future and is comfortable with where the issue lies.

Coach Matthew Elliott said the timing of Ropati’s reintroduction to the NRL would be important.

“I really feel he’s got a contribution to make heading into the back end of the season,” he said.

“His maturity, his influence on other players is pretty profound.”

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