According to Sydney Morning Herald, Penrith hooker James Segeyaro is planning to change his nation of allegiance in order to be eligible for Queensland selection.
Shifting from North Queensland to Penrith, Segeyaro proved to be one of the buys of the season after giving the Panthers spark from dummy-half. Only a pectoral injury prevented him from taking his place at the World Cup, where he was set to represent his birthplace of Papua New Guinea.
Segeyaro knows Cameron Smith has a mortgage on the Maroons No.9 jersey and that there will be plenty of capable candidates - including Jake Friend and Matt Ballin - lining up to eventually replace him. And while his more immediate goal is becoming an 80-minute player for the Panthers, the 22-year-old is aiming high.
''I want to change my allegiance and put my hand up for Queensland,'' Segeyaro said. ''That's a long way away, you've got guys like Friendy in the frame and he's a great player. In saying that I want to play No.9 for 80 minutes consistently and try to get into the finals. It's a personal goal to be a guy who can do it for the whole game just like those good NRL players in Michael Ennis and Cameron Smith, Danny Buderus. Buderus is a bit of an idol, he's not just a good player but a good bloke as well. To be respected on and off the field is something I'd like to achieve in the next few years.''
He recently finalised a contract extension which will keep him at Penrith until the end of 2016. While some observers questioned the shift, Segeyaro always knew there was potential at his new home. ''I'm really happy with the move,'' he said. ''Heaps of critics said it was a stupid move for me seeing I was playing with Johnno [Johnathan Thurston] and Matt Scott and all of those class players. And after Payney [Aaron Payne] left, hopefully I would have got a starting role. But I thought Penrith was the best decision for me so I put my head down and I'm happy with the season I had. It could have been better, we could have been in the finals, but hopefully next year we'll go a bit better and we'll do that.'' Penrith have again been aggressive in the player market. They have bought experienced players Peter Wallace, Jamie Soward and Brent Kite, as well as exciting youngsters including Elijah Taylor, Kevin Naiqama and Tyrone Peachey. The Panthers also made the grand final in the NSW Cup and the National Youth Competition, winning the latter.
''Everyone is putting their hand up to come to first grade so I've got to watch my position,'' Segeyaro said. ''It's good that Wallace and Sowie are here while Brent Kite brings a lot of maturity to the group. It's what we've been lacking the last couple of years, a few of those older boys to steer us young fellas around. They will help us be more professional.'' Most critics tipped the Panthers for the wooden spoon in 2013 and they will again be at long odds next season. Segeyaro said the jibes provided further motivation to prove the knockers wrong. ''It definitely drives me and the whole team.''
Source: Sydney Morning Herald
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