Leeds Rhinos: Pivotal role played down by Segeyaro

James Segeyaro.  PIC: Bruce Rollinson
James Segeyaro. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
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STAR HOOKER James Segeyaro has played down his role in Leeds Rhinos’ revival.

Segeyaro has a 100 per cent winning record from his eight games in blue and amber.

And the pivot delighted fans when he agreed a two-year contract last week.

His arrival on loan from Penrith Panthers helped turn Rhinos’ season around and with two rounds left in the First Utility Qualifiers last year’s treble-winners have already guaranteed their place in Super League for next season.

But Segeyaro insists Rhinos are not a one-man team and believes they were heading in the right direction before he joined the club as part of an exchange which saw England full-back Zak Hardaker move the other way.

“It is always good when you are winning,” Segeyaro said.

“No one likes losing, but I think the boys have been working towards this.

“Unfortunately before I came they weren’t getting the results, but they’ve been working hard.

“It is not just me, it is the whole team.

“It is a team effort. I can’t put it down to myself.

“The boys were working hard long before I came, I have just tried to add to that.

“I am reaping the benefits of their hard work.

“I think everyone’s gelling well together and it has been good for me to jump on the back of all the hard work the boys have been doing.

“They have been through adversity this year with injuries and inconsistency, but just to get that continuity of winning several games has been good.

“I am just lucky I suppose, in the right place at the right time.”

Rhinos limped to a 32-0 win over Batley Bulldogs last Friday, but the former NRL hooker of the year reckons they have shown they can be a force next year if they build on the past two months.

“It is a bit upsetting being where we are,” he conceded.

“Seeing where we are and how we are playing, I wish we had started a bit earlier.

“But it is also a good learning curve for us, for us to keep winning and bring this momentum into the off-season, have a really big off-season and a good season next year.”

Segeyaro reckons the English style of attacking rugby suits his game and credited Leeds boss Brian McDermott for bringing the best out of him.

“I am definitely enjoying the footy here,” he said.

“If I wasn’t I wouldn’t stay [at Headingley].

“It is showing out on the field.

“I am especially enjoying my team-mates and the coaching here.

“I think the way Mac coaches really suits me.

“I had the same with [ex-Penrith coach] Ivan Cleary, I can see a lot of similarities between him and Mac.

“That’s when I played my best footy.

“I am not saying anything bad about Anthony [Griffin], but I didn’t get much opportunity there.

“Mac has been really good for me and so have the boys, helping me out. I have really been in awe of the team and, in a way, I am a bit shocked to see the position we are in.”

Segeyaro initially signed for Rhinos until the end of the season.

Leeds were always keen to keep him, but he did have the option of a return to the NRL.

He had been weighing up offers from Australian clubs before committing to Leeds and admitted it was a “pretty difficult” decision to make.

“It’s all about happiness,” he said.

“What’s going to make me happy and what was best for my career.

“I didn’t think I would settle in as well as I have and that was a big part of my decision to stay

“They have been good to me, especially the boys.

“It was the right decision.

“I think there is a bright future here in the next two years and I want to make the most of that opportunity.”