Former Cowboys hooker James Segeyaro says his move to Penrith was not about the money

James Segeyaro. Getty Images
Segeyaro is Penrith's man-of-the-moment, with his sizzling hat-trick against the Broncos last Friday night rubber-stamping the nuggety rake as one of the code's leading interchange shock weapons.
But the performance also spotlighted what the Cowboys are missing around the rucks this season and how the club could lose their most promising young hooker.
Groomed to replace the retiring Aaron Payne, Segeyaro stunned Cowboys management when he agreed to join the Panthers this season after meeting Penrith supremo Phil Gould.
Segeyaro was accused of leaving the Cowboys in the lurch by chasing a more lucrative deal, but the Papua New Guinea international claims North Queensland dithered in contract talks.

"I felt I had to go (to Penrith)," said Segeyaro, who has played all 22 games off the bench this season.

"The Cowboys signed a few players and I was still waiting. By the time I got the phone call (from Gould) my manager and I had a good chat and it seemed to be the right thing to do.

"I didn't want to wait any longer for the Cowboys and Penrith were really keen. At first you have your doubts, but I can't be happier here.

"It wasn't about the money. Penrith had a five-year plan and I'll admit Gus was very good with words.

"He said what I've been trying to seek all along, he said he wanted me to be the next long-term Penrith hooker who will be here a number of years and play 100 games for the club.

"He said it will be a tough road but we will give you the tools, you just need to work hard. I was blown away by what he was saying and after that I was that pumped I wanted to play for Penrith."

Cowboys recruitment chief Peter Parr said he was pro-active in attempting to retain Segeyaro and did everything possible to keep him in Townsville.

"We wanted to keep James here," he said.

"We knew that Aaron Payne was retiring and we put a lot of effort and resource to get 'Chicko' (Segeyaro) to take over as the No.1 hooker.

"I remember going on a team camp to the Gold Coast and I spent an hour with James. I spoke to him about his future and what he wanted out of life.

"I then had a second meeting to get the deal over the line and the one thing he kept coming back to was that he enjoyed the Sydney lifestyle and he didn't enjoy the amount of travel associated with playing out of Townsville.

"At first, I was surprised he was considering going but by the end I wasn't. Some of the things James' manager said on his behalf had me concerned he would go to Penrith."

Despite being a fixture on the bench, Segeyaro is relishing his time at Penrith.

"As soon as I got here the boys accepted me," he said.



"Any player wants to be a starting player, but I just want to be consistent and become a 100-game player who puts in every week."

The Courier Mail/ Pacific Flash

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