Penrith Panthers hooker James Segeyaro sets sights on Queensland State of Origin selection

IN terms of State of Origin selection, Queensland hopeful James Segeyaro knows he is a roughie with a capital R. Test and Maroons captain Cameron Smith has a mortgage on the Queensland No.9 jumper for as long as he remains fit, and the Roosters' premiership rake Jake Friend would be next in line. The most amazing and unexpected things can happen, however, when you are in the chase pack and that is the opportunity ahead of Segeyaro in his second year at Penrith.Sport history is littered with examples of success stories emerging from the ranks.
Cricket great Ian Healy was Queensland's back-up gloveman who had played less than 10 first class matches before being handed a baggy green 26 years ago.Ice skater Steven Bradbury's 2002 Winter Olympics gold medal was among the most famous examples of a bolt from the blue.Segeyaro is aware of the high calibre pecking order, yet is close enough to dream of an unlikely interstate series call-up.
"I've got Friendly and Cameron ahead of me, but if I keep working hard, you never know what might happen," said the Penrith and former North Queensland hooker.
Segeyaro, who joined Friend in the Queensland Emerging Origin camp in Brisbane at the weekend, would more realistically have a shot at the interchange utility role for Mal Meninga's Maroons.
Daly Cherry-Evans last year settled into the No.14 jumper with the maturity of a veteran and the impact of a firecracker.
Before him it was Cooper Cronk, while Karmichael Hunt and Shaun Berrigan also gave great service in that position.
Segeyaro fits a similar mould. The 23-year-old is creative from acting half, hits like a missile and knows how to sniff out a try.
"Cameron's got a couple of years left, but I'll definitely put my hand up for an interchange spot, or anywhere," Segeyaro said.
"It's nice just to be thought of," he said.
The Cairns product faces a similar predicament at Penrith, where last year he filled an impact role off the bench behind club captain Kevin Kingston.
"I've been trying to get that starting spot for a while. This year will hopefully mark me in that No.9 jersey." Segeyaro said.
"That's my goal. All good hookers play 80 minutes and I want to put myself up there and be a bit more consistent."
The Panthers are targeting a finals berth this season and should feel optimistic after recruiting five-eighth Jamie Soward, centre Jamal Idris and former Warriors livewire Elijah Taylor to an already talented roster.
"There's definitely something building. We can strike from anywhere on the field," Segeyaro said.

The Daily Telegraph Sydney
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