Sege­yaro pumped for NRL bap­tism

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport - by Michael Thompson michael. thompson@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

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.

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