Wantaway James Segeyaro is valued at £250,000 by Leeds Rhinos

LEEDS RHINOS have put a £250,000 price tag on James Segeyaro and sought legal advice after the hooker walked out on his contract.

James Segeyaro pictured running the length of the pitch to score a try for Leeds Rhinos ( Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).

Rhinos had hoped the Papua New Guinea international would arrive back for pre-season training in January.

However, it seems Segeyaro is sticking by his recent decision – as reported in Australian media – to stay in Sydney after his off-season break and not fulfil the remaining two years of his deal.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

NRL champions Cronulla Sharks are waiting in the wings to sign him, but will have to fork out a transfer fee to do so after Leeds stuck to their guns with the ‘homesick’ player.

Rhinos are also considering pursuing legal proceedings against Segeyaro for breach of contract. They are currently considering all legal options available to them and Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “We take this matter very seriously.

“James’s decision has created a big problem for us and created uncertainty throughout our organisation.

“We are aware of the interest in him from a number of NRL clubs, but we have our interests to protect as well and need to consider all avenues in this matter.”

Segeyaro initially joined from Penrith Panthers on loan in July before making the deal permanent a couple of months later.

He told Hetherington recently in Sydney that he was happy to return in 2017 – only to tell a newspaper a couple of days later he was homesick and did not envisage playing at Headingley again.

The 26-year-old proved a timely signing, joining when Rhinos were bottom of Super League and helping them win nine of their last 10 games, scoring six tries as they avoided the drop.

Given hooker is such a pivotal position, Leeds will face a battle to find a replacement with the new season fast approaching.

It is no surprise they will demand such a large fee.

Rhinos’ head coach Brian McDermott said on Thursday he “expected” Segeyaro to return, but also revealed his disappointment with the way in which the player had acted.

Leeds are the second Super League side to seek legal advice after a player walked out on his contract with Castleford Tigers in a similar position following Denny Solomona’s failure to return for training, Sale Sharks hoping to sign the prolific winger for free.

Meanwhile, McDermott has confirmed new signing Cory Aston, the half-back bought from Sheffield Eagles, will start the 2017 season on dual-registration with Featherstone Rovers.