James Segeyaro details his battle to return from the wilderness after drug bust

James Segeyaro details his battle to return from the wilderness after drug bust – revealing he worked as a traffic controller before picking up an NRL lifeline with Manly 

  • James Segeyaro was suspended by NRL for a failed drug test in October 2019 
  • He was handed a 20-month backdated ban in February 2020
  • PNG international worked as a tradie and traffic controller during his time away
  • The hooker has played six games for Manly’s feeder club in NSW Cup
  • And he could return to the NRL in Round 11 against Parramatta 

A year after working as a traffic controller and concreter, James Segeyaro could make his NRL return next week when Manly face Parramatta in Round 11.

The hooker was suspended by the NRL in October 2019 for returning a positive sample at an anti-doping test – which he has maintained was ingested via a housemate’s blender – and then copped a backdated 20-month ban in February 2020.

The Papua New Guinea international has played six games for the Blacktown Workers – Manly‘s feeder club – in the NSW Cup, enough to earn himself a $1,000-per-week train and trial contract with the Sea Eagles.

James Segeyaro could make his NRL return next week when Manly play Parramatta

A meeting with Manly boss Des Hasler last week, further reignited his love for the game.

‘Dessie [Hasler] came down onto the field and it was the best thing I needed at that point in time,’ Segeyaro told the Daily Telegraph.

‘He was yelling in my ear and I haven’t had that over the past two years from someone like him.

The former Brisbane Broncos star was banned for failing a doping test in October 2019

The former Brisbane Broncos star was banned for failing a doping test in October 2019

‘The passion he has, I felt it. For the head coach to come down and give me that oomph, was special.

‘You’ve still got the fire “Chicko” [Segeyaro’s nickname], is what he was yelling and that brings the best out of me.’

The Sea Eagles were thrashed 38-0 on Friday by the Broncos in Magic Round in Brisbane and face the high-flying Eels next Thursday and the Melbourne Storm the following week.

Given how much Manly struggled to move the ball and unlock the Broncos defence on Friday night, it wouldn’t be surprising if Hasler considered Segeyaro an option for their clash with Parramatta.

The former Sharks hooker was then handed a back-handed 20-month ban in February 2020

The former Sharks hooker was then handed a back-handed 20-month ban in February 2020

It would mark a remarkable comeback for the 31-year-old, who is determined to make the most of his second chance after spending the time out of a game working a host of different jobs.  

‘With a lot of time out of the game, I’ve had a chance to reflect and understand to appreciate what you have,’ he added. 

‘You don’t know what you have until you lose it. This is it for me now.

The PNG international has played six NSW Cup games for Manly's feeder club this season

The PNG international has played six NSW Cup games for Manly’s feeder club this season

‘I’d love to have a chance to play next week.’

Up until his suspension, Segeyaro had played 164 NRL games over nine seasons and admitted that he would return to the game with a completely different mindset, if he’s given the chance to play first grade footy again.

Everything hard in my life is done,’ he said.

‘I’ve done two years out. […] So now [playing NRL] it would be just having fun.’

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