LEEDS RHINOS chief executive Gary Hetherington has described as fiction reports linking the club with Cronulla Sharks’ 33-year-old second-rower Luke Lewis.
According to media Down Under, Leeds are interested in signing Lewis – who has played 16 times for Australia and made 17 State of Origin appearances with New South Wales – in exchange for hooker James Segeyaro.
But Hetherington said that is a “made-up story”. He insisted: “That is entirely fictitious, there is absolutely no foundation to that at all.
“There’s been absolutely no discussions or any contact from Cronulla about Lewis or anything at all.”
Cronulla are understood to be keen to sign Segeyaro, who played 10 games for Rhinos last year on loan from Penrith Panthers.
He signed a two-year contract, according to Rhinos, but then refused to return for pre-season training in November.
Leeds subsequently placed Segeyaro on the transfer list with a £250,000 valuation. They say he has terminated his contract, by refusing to return, but his registration is still held by Rhinos and he will be unable to play for anyone else until the end of 2018, unless a fee is paid.
Hetherington stressed Rhinos are “not interested” in a player-swap for Segeyaro.
“We are full,” he said. “We don’t have any ability to do a player-swap. We have a full quota of players.”
Cronulla have arrived in England to prepare for Sunday’s Dacia World Club Challenge against Super League champions Wigan Warriors. It will be their first competitive fixture since they beat Melbourne Storm in last October’s NRL Grand Final, when Lewis was man of the match.