Segeyaro pumped for NRL baptism
JAMES Segeyaro was a bit hesitant to pick up a phone call from Cowboys coach Neil Henry on Tuesday afternoon.
Thinking he was in trouble, the Papua New Guinea-born rake answered the call and waited for a stern query or something of the sort.
What he got was arguably the best phone call of his life.
‘‘ I started screaming,’’ Segeyaro said of the moment Henry told him his entry into the NRL had come.
‘‘ I was pretty pleased at the time so I rang my dad straight away.’’
Segeyaro’s call-up follows an ordinary performance by the Cowboys against Newcastle in round two.
The subsequent tinkering with the starting 17 resulted in interchange hooker Ben Jones and winger Michael Bani being placed on Queensland Cup duties, opening the door for Segeyaro and St George Illawarra signing Kalifa Fai Fai Loa.
Fai Fai Loa said about eight months has passed since his last first-grade game.
‘‘ Not since round 17 for the Dragons, so hopefully I’ll play good this Monday,’’ Fai Fai Loa said.
‘‘ The Storm are going to be hard but hopefully we come away with the two points.’’
The New Zealand winger said Bani, the man he replaces on Monday, had the right stuff to force his way back into firstgrade.
‘‘ He could still make a comeback so the pressure’s on me and other players,’’ Fai Fai Loa said.
Segeyaro, who has been named on the interchange bench, admitted the magnitude of the occasion was beginning to dawn on him.
But he is savouring it nonetheless.
‘‘ It’s been a dream come true to get called up so I’m just enjoying the moment,’’ Segeyaro said.
‘‘ There’s already nerves now but I’m pretty confident in my team and I reckon they’ll throw me out there when I’m ready.’’
North Queensland fans have seen Segeyaro’s talents on display with the Cowboys under-20 team.
Shoulder surgery put a halt to his blistering form but now he feels so fit that Segeyaro says ‘‘ it feels like I never even got surgery’’.
‘‘ It’s a credit to the trainers for getting me into this shape, and for the coach in having confidence in me to give me a run against the Storm.
‘‘ I’ve got to put a good performance in and hopefully they keep picking me in the team, and that’s what I really want. Hopefully I cement this bench position and keep going with my career.’’
Segeyaro’s call-up comes after he starred in last year’s NYC competition.