Former Dally M hooker of the year James Segeyaro is the big beneficiary of Cronulla prop Ava Seumanufagai's decision to join Leeds in the Super League.
James Segeyaro is set for a NRL reprieve after Cronulla prop Ava Seumanufagai's decision to join Leeds in the Super League on a two-and-a-half-year deal.
Segeyaro was only at the Sharks on a training contract while playing for Newtown in the second-tier NSW Cup.
But Seumanufagai's move to England will allow the Sharks to squeeze the one-time representative hooker into their 30-man first-grade squad.
While Segeyaro seemingly remains behind Jayden and Blayke Brailey in the pecking order for Cronulla's No.9 starting jumper, the 28-year-old can at least provide injury back-up and remain in Australia to fight for his NRL career.
Seumanufagai's contract was expiring at the end of the 2019 season and the Sharks gave the New Zealander permission to speak with other clubs as they sought to ease pressure on their salary cap.
It had long been speculated he would join the Rhinos.
The signing will fuel speculation over the future of former Kangaroos Test forward Trent Merrin, who is on compassionate leave in Sydney and has been linked with a return to St George Illawarra. But the Rhinos insist their marquee signing will be on a flight back to England next Monday.
Seumanufagai began his NRL career in 2013 with the Wests Tigers and was a regular with the Sharks at the start of last season, making 13 appearances.
"We are delighted to get the deal finally done to sign Ava," said Kevin Sinfield, the boss of Leeds, who are bottom of the Super League with just two wins from 10 games this season.