LEEDS RHINOS are prepared to go to court in the battle with their former hooker James Segeyaro, chief executive Gary Hetherington has confirmed.
Hetherington insists Rhinos are standing firm on their decision not to allow Segeyaro to play for anyone else without compensation being paid.
Segeyaro’s agent Sam Ayoub has told the Australian media the player’s contract with Leeds was not valid, but that claim has been dismissed as “bizarre” by the Rhinos chief.
Rhinos signed Segeyaro from Penrith Panthers last summer and announced in September he had agreed to stay with them until the end of 2018.
But the Papua New Guinea international was placed on the transfer list, with a £250,000 price tag, after refusing to return to Leeds for pre-season training.
He has been strongly linked with NRL champions Cronulla Sharks, but Leeds have retained his registration and say they will not release him without a fee.
Ayoub has been quoted as telling News Limited: “We will go through the appropriate channels to resolve the issue, but we are totally confident that James is not contracted to Leeds in 2017.”
But Hetherington insisted: “The contract he signed before he came to us is currently lodged with the RFL and that expires on November 30, 2018.”
Hetherington said Segeyaro signed a two and a half year deal, which included a get-out clause which he could activate on or before September 1 last year.
“If he didn’t settle he could, on or before September 1, notify the club that he would terminate the contract at the end of the season, so he played [for Leeds] in 2016 only. September 1 passed without him terminating the contract. Once that date passed we made a joint statement to the effect he was committed for a further two years.
“He terminated that contract by failing to return to the club, but he remains on our register and on the transfer list.”
Rhinos have appointed solicitors in Australia to handle the case and Hetherington said there has been no approach from or negotiations with any club over Segeyaro. The NRL are understood to have confirmed Segeyaro can’t be registered with them whilever he is registered with the RFL.