Brian McDermott has broken his silence over wantaway hooker Leeds Rhinos, insisting Segeyaro’s desired exit is a big issue.
Segeyaro has expressed his intentions to stay in Australia, citing homesickness as a key reason behind his wish to stay away from the Rhinos.
Leeds responded with a statement in which they said they would not appease the Papua New Guinean’s demands, and McDermott has reasserted the club’s stance.
The Rhinos head coach insisted that Segeyaro was expected to report back to training on January 3 and that he was unimpressed by some of his comments made in the press.
“We made a commitment to James and he made one to us so we’re expecting him to return,” said McDermott
“I spoke to him on the phone and he expressed some concerns – which I don’t want to say too much about – in relation to coming back. Gary is out there at the moment for some other business but he has met up with James.
“It’s disappointing with some of the things he’s said about being here and staring at four walls, which leads people to believe he was brought here and shoved into a concrete room.
“I feel bad for some of our staff, Jason Davidson and Chris Gibson, who spent an unbelievable amount of time looking after him. Jason was practically on speed-dial and we were meeting him on days off – I can’t imagine how much spare time he had at all really so to say that is disappointing.
“Again, we’ve made an obligation to him and he engaged in an agreement with us and they aren’t to be broken lightly.
“This is a big deal and a big thing concerning James; you shouldn’t be breaking commitments like this, I’ve had to explain it to my children so you’ve got to understand how big this is. You don’t get a reputation for breaking agreements, so it was a massive surprise.”
Despite McDermott’s adamancy that Segeyaro will be made to return, he did admit that the club is aware of other players available should he refuse to return to the UK.
“There’s always a Plan B.
“I don’t want to go into it too much but there’s always a back-up, and agents are always in contact with a fluid list of players that are available. We went through this process when Beau left to get James here in the first place, and I still expect he comes back – hopefully in the right frame of mind. But of course, we’ve got plans in place.”