PREMIERSHIP winner Luke Lewis believes Papua new Guinea international James Segeyaro is “really staking his claim” to return to Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) now that his doping ban has been lifted.
While contracted at the Brisbane Broncos in 2019, the 31-year-old returned an A-sample drug test that was found to contain di-hydroxy LGD-4033, a metabolite of the banned substance Ligandrol.
Segeyaro faced up to four years out of the game, but last year, the NRL anti-doping tribunal downgraded his ban to 20 months after he successfully argued that he accidentally ingested the substance by using his housemate’s blender.
Following the lifting of his ban in June last year, the rake he has since resumed his rugby league career with Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles, the New South Wales Cup feeder side of NRL side Manly Sea Eagles.
Segeyaro made his debut for Blacktown Workers off the bench on March 12 when the Sea Eagles went down to the Penrith Panthers’ feeder side. The one-time Cronulla Shark’s performance impressed former teammate Lewis, who said Segeyaro was on track to make an NRL comeback more than two years after his most recent first-grade game.
“My little mate has come out there, he has played a great game in his first game,” Lewis said.
“Segeyaro looked super dangerous out of dummy half, his running game created a couple of half-breaks.
“I think he has really staked his claim to make the first-grade squad.”
Australian Kangaroos legend Lewis said the Sea Eagles could come calling if first-choice rake Lachlan Croker suffered an injury.
“Manly, they haven’t got a whole lot of depth there in that No.9 jersey, so if an injury was to come there, we could see Segeyaro in first grade,” he said.
“Keep a close eye on Segeyaro.”
But Segeyaro might not need an injury to Croker to find his way into the 17 – in career-best form at the Penrith Panthers, Segeyaro would often start on the bench and come into the starting side to bamboozle tired defenders.
A crafty user of the footy, he was a mainstay of the 2014 Panthers side that came within one win of a grand final berth and could be a good fit for Manly if the side play the same style of attacking footy it did last season. – NCA
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