NRL: Cronulla Sharks claim James Segeyaro after release from Leeds

James Segeyaro of the Panthers passes the ball against NZ Warriors. Photo/Getty Images
James Segeyaro of the Panthers passes the ball against NZ Warriors. Photo/Getty Images

The tug of war over James Segeyaro has officially ended.

The ex-Penrith rake is set to make his Cronulla debut as soon as this weekend, with English club Leeds finally providing a release after his messy departure.

The Papua New Guinea international was named in the Sharks' initial 21-man squad for Saturday night's away clash with Parramatta, despite not having his NRL contract officially registered.

Cronulla announced today they would sign Segeyaro on a two-year deal.

Segeyaro only received NRL clearance last week to train with the defending premiers, but Cronulla sounded quietly confident Segeyaro would be cleared to run out against the Eels, after working for months with the NRL to negotiate the release.

"After being granted permission to officially train with the club late last week, Segeyaro has been provided with a release from Leeds Rhinos and once his new contract has been registered by the NRL, will be eligible to turn out for the Sharks," a Cronulla statement said.

Segeyaro joined Leeds last July and inspired nine wins in his 10 games, but failed to return from Australia for pre-season training in the UK, citing homesickness.

He was under contract for another two years at Leeds. The Rhinos initially threatened to sue Segeyaro and demanded a $A400,000 transfer fee, but it is believed a release has been granted after the negotiation of a settlement fee.

Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said 103-game NRL veteran Segeyaro would be invaluable in assisting young Sharks hooker Jayden Brailey, as he stepped up in the absence of retired rake Michael Ennis.

"I'm excited to have him in my squad," Flanagan said. "James has missed a fair bit of training and we probably won't see the best of him for a few weeks.

"However, he is a quality player and one that will certainly add something to our team. He gives us some real competition at hooker, and Jayden will need some help during the year and James will provide that."

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