Chiefs boss Dave Rennie believes Sonny Bill Williams will eventually return to rugby union, perhaps in time for the 2015 World Cup.
Williams was part of the All Blacks squad that won the 2011 World Cup and also featured prominently in the Chiefs' victorious Super Rugby campaign in 2012, before honouring a commitment to return to the National Rugby League with the Sydney Roosters this year.
He has been in fine form for the Roosters, but Rennie said the prospect of helping New Zealand defend their World Cup crown in England could help lure him back to the Chiefs.
"We're working pretty hard in that area and we are pretty confident we can maybe lure him back here at some stage," Rennie told AAP.
"He made a real commitment to league and he might be there for a couple of years yet. There's no guarantees about that but he's certainly committed there this year.
"With 2015 being a World Cup year, hopefully that will be attractive to him."
While Rennie would welcome Williams back with open arms, Canterbury Bulldogs fans are unlikely to do the same when he lines up against their team for the first time on Friday.
Williams controversially walked out on Canterbury 18 months into a five-year contract in 2008 to start his rugby union career in France with Toulon.
A small group of Bulldogs fans held aloft a banner reading "SBW we will never forget" at the Sydney Football Stadium in Williams's first match back last month, and he can expect a hostile reception at the same stadium on Friday.
Passions among Bulldogs fans have been running so high that Canterbury captain Michael Ennis has appealed for calm.
"I wasn't here so I can't comment on what the fans are feeling, but our focus is about winning the game and not Sonny Bill," he said.
"Personally I hope that our fans travel out there and watch a good game of footy and there's nothing silly going on.
"It should be a great game, they are coming off a loss and we need to win. We don't need any distractions from that."