Leeds Rhinos have agreed a deal with NRL side Penrith Panthers that will see Papua New Guinea international hooker James Segeyaro move to Headingley and the Rhinos and England fullback Zak Hardaker move in the opposite direction with immediate effect.
The deals are for the remainder of the 2016 season with a view to a potential long-term arrangement. Hardaker remains transfer listed by the Rhinos for the remainder of his contract whilst Segeyaro is out of contract with the Panthers this year.
The Rhinos do not have a game this weekend following their elimination from the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup in the last round. They said in a statement that Segeyaro will arrive in the UK next week and be available for selection for the Rhinos next game against Widnes Vikings on Sunday 3rd July at Headingley.
Leeds Rhinos Head Coach Brian McDermott commented: “It is pleasing that we have been able to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. Zak goes with our best wishes and I am pleased for him that he has been able to fulfil his ambition of playing in the NRL.
“When Zak came to us to request a move, it was always going to be important that we were able to strengthen our group and in James Segeyaro we have a great opportunity to bring in a highly rated player into our group.”
Hardaker leaves Leeds having signed for the Rhinos in 2011 from Featherstone Rovers – he has gone onto make 155 appearances, scoring 67 tries and 45 goals including returning to the side for last Friday’s win at Wakefield.
He played in all three Tests for England in their series win over World Champions, New Zealand last year and was part of the England group who met with new Head Coach Wayne Bennett last week.