'I would love to do my part' - James Segeyaro talks up Papua New Guinea NRL side




James Segeyaro would consider being one of the first players to sign for a Papua New Guinean club side if they are admitted to the NRL.

James Segeyaro against the Warriors

James Segeyaro against the Warriors

Source: Photosport

New ARL Commission chairman Peter Beattie has put expansion firmly back on the table, with any new teams most likely to be added in 2022 at the conclusion of the current TV rights deal.

Beattie also told AAP last month that he was in talks with Cairns City Council about a possible team coming from the region, which would form an unprecedented joint bid with PNG.

Segeyaro, who would be 31 if a PNG team was admitted in 2022, has plans of returning to the country after his NRL career to to continue his late father's work in community rugby league.

But, if an NRL team was admitted, the Cronulla bench hooker says he would consider moving back earlier to play.

"I wouldn't rule it out at all," Segeyaro said.

"I've played for my country and I would love anything to do with helping the country.

"If you're from PNG, playing for the Kumuls is one of the biggest honours you could have as Papua New Guinean to play for them. So I would love to do my part for the country as it is."

Segeyaro is a proponent of NRL expansion into his homeland, but said sustained success from Queensland Cup premiers the PNG Hunters was a crucial first component.

The Hunters have played in each of the past three finals series since narrowly missing the play-offs in 2014, their first season.

"I don't think any other country would get behind an NRL team as much as Papua New Guinea. It's a national sport and there's so much support in and around it," Segeyaro said.

"You have to go somewhere where you can attract the most crowds plus sponsorship, plus TV ratings and everything plays a part.

"That's the rugby league environment. I would love for a team to come in in the next five years."

Regardless, Segeyaro said he was determined to do his bit post-retirement to strengthen the country's bid if no team came to fruition during his career.

"If you look at big junior academies like Penrith and Parramatta in the west, there are so many teams and they are so strong every year," he said.

"They keep the flowing and the cycle comes through and they develop into good NRL teams.

"There is that set-up in PNG but I would like to strengthen it and have input on things they need to do to make that and it will make that bid more dominant and for us to be competitive."

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