Leeds Rhinos: Super League is ‘right up my alley’ says Segeyaro

James Segeyaro.
James Segeyaro.
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NEW ARRIVAL James Segeyaro reckons his style of play is made for the British game – and insists Leeds Rhinos is where he wants to be.

Segeyaro has joined Rhinos until the end of the season as part of a swap deal which took reigning Man of Steel Zak Hardaker to Penrith Panthers.

Despite already being linked with a return to Australia in 2017, the former NRL hooker of the year stressed it was his choice to come to Leeds.

Rhinos are hopeful Segeyaro will sign a long-term deal after getting a taste of life at the club over the next three months.

He said he has yet to think about his options for next season, but chose Rhinos ahead of rival bids.

“I had a couple of offers, but this is the best opportunity for me,” said Segeyaro, who arrived in this country two days ago.

“This is one that will let me enjoy my football and where I can flourish the most.

“I think the type of football Rhinos play is going to suit me.

“My energy in general and my performance around the ruck are a big part of my game, bringing my forwards on to the ball and getting the team rolling around the park and where it needs to be.

“I think Super League will suit me, 100 per cent.

“I have been watching some games and it’s straight up my alley.”

Segeyaro will be the third Papua New Guinean to play for Leeds after Marcus Bai and fellow hooker Paul Aiton.

Both players won silverware during their time at the club, and Segeyaro revealed: “I had words with Paulie before I moved over here, how he loved it over here and he had awesome success here.

“Hopefully I can follow in his footsteps with the success he had over here.

“It is a bit of the unknown for me at the moment so it’s very exciting times. It is like the first time in school.”

Segeyaro was due to train with his new team-mates for the first time today.

He is a former North Queensland Cowboys team-mate of Rhinos’ forward Mitch Achurch and also knows prop Keith Galloway, who joined Leeds from Wests Tigers in the off-season.

This is his first visit to England, and he said: “It came about through my manager.

“I was looking for an opportunity. Things weren’t working out for me where I was at Penrith and Leeds have been massive for me in getting me over here to experience Super League.

“I have had ambitions to come over here, but never thought the opportunity would come so early.”

Coach Brian McDermott has confirmed the former international will make his debut away to First Utility Super League leaders Hull FC in two days’ time.

“Hopefully I will be good to go,” Segeyaro said. “It is a massive game for us; I think Hull is the benchmark at the moment.

“They have got a lot of internationals, a couple of boys I have played alongside and against. When you are playing against people you know you always look forward to it. I am focused on this Friday and really putting in a good performance in my first Super League game.”

The 25-year-old has joined a Leeds team that is bottom of the table and heading for a relegation scrap in the middle-eights qualifiers. He said he is “a little bit aware” of the competition format and what lies in store for Rhinos over the final third of the campaign.

“It’s very new to me, but I understand the position we are in at the moment,” he said. “I haven’t come here to lose, I have come here to win.

“Leeds Rhinos is a powerhouse of Super League and it needs to be where it belongs, which is back up at the top.”

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