Semi Radradra Steals Headlines On An Epic Fijian Night

You've probably got a better caption than me for this picture.

You've probably got a better caption than me for this picture.

During a break in play of the All Blacks vs Wales game, I checked my phone. Usually I stay of Twitter during live sporting events - hence there's never a constant wave of tweets during a game - but for some strange reason, I opened the Twitter app and had a cheeky scroll. Semi Radradra's named popped up a few times, despite Radradra having played the night before, no one should have been talking about Radradra, yet they were.

I quickly found what I had been looking for, information regarding a rather dramatic possible departure from Parramatta for Radradra. Shocking, yes and eerily similar to what Sonny Bill Williams had done in the past but that's where the similarities between this news about Radradra and SBW ends.

Anyone who follows NRL rumour hounds would know that along with all the salary cap dramas, Kieran Foran's on-going situation, the affiliation of Corey Norman and Junior Paulo with some friendly gang-bangers and the general shambles that is the Parramatta Eels boardroom, were rumblings of a disgruntled Radradra. Remember when it became know that Radradra wouldn't be eligible for State Of Origin selection, even though he had been selected for Australia? At that time there was noise about Radradra making a move to European rugby and there's consistent noise about Radradra's contract, or the monetary value of that contract.

From what I've gathered, Radradra isn't on a big deal with Parramatta and he has known his true value all along. It's hard to argue that Radradra is the Eels' best player and when you ponder the big names that were added to that Eels squad in the past two years (Foran, Anthony Watmough, Beau Scott etc) and compare their contribution to Parramatta on the park to that of Radradra's, it makes sense that Radradra would be eager to enjoy a nice little payday. On top of this there's the shambles that is Parramatta and I wouldn't be 100 percent certain in saying that all of Radradra's third-party deals would have been honoured, especially not when the Eels have been running one heck of a shady/silly third-party deal system.

Through all of this, Radradra has produced the goods on the field but this noise about him being disgruntled hasn't gone away. Allow me to paint a very, very ridiculous picture here...

Last night, the headline was that Radradra had walked out on the Eels.

Parramatta responded with a statement saying that Radradra had simply been allowed to return to his homeland, Fiji and that he is expected to return.

Danny Weidler - part of Channel Nine in Australia who reported this story last night - today tweeted this...

So Parramatta have publicly said they expect Radradra to return, yet they've told a journalist that he has told them he won't - my head hurts as well. Throw in speculation that Parramatta could allow Radradra to play a little rugby union in the NRL's off-season and this is messy, you'd expect nothing less from Parramatta after the past few years.

For Radradra, I'm struggling to feel anything other that sympathy and encouragement for him. Clubs fail to honour contracts all the time and players are at their mercy so no dramas there. We've known for some time that European rugby has been chasing Radradra and he may have been forced to make a decision asap, which when applied to the context of Parramatta not playing for points, or are they? You get the picture, everything from the uncertainty of how their season could play out to the club being a shambles would push Radradra out the door ... oh and there's a hefty amount of cash offered on the table, that could be swiftly withdrawn.

This story is interesting enough in itself to follow intently, however Radradra's story demanded headline status on a night in which a group of Fijians were involved in a funky storyline of their own. On the same night as Radradra's story breaking, the All Blacks fielded two Fijians, so did the Wallabies and so did the Melbourne Storm.

Waisake Naholo has quickly emerged as the best winger in Aotearoa, leap-frogging Julian Savea who, only last year was swimming in comparisons to Jonah Lomu. Naholo's presence in the black jersey was expected but with Malakai Fekitoa involved in a head-to-head collision with Wales' Jamie Roberts in the opening exchanges of that Test, Seta Tamanivalu was graced with more game time that he or any of us would have predicted. 

The Wallabies rolled out a midfield of Semu Kerevi and Tevita Kuridrani, two Fijians forming a midfield combination for Australia. Of course, Australia were once again touched up by England and the English snatched a series win on Australian turf.

Creeping under the radar was Melbourne Storm's loss to St George Illawara Dragons in the NRL, which came at the same time as the Australia vs England Test. Melbourne handed a debut to Suliasi Vunivalu earlier this season and in an interesting note; Vulivalu and Tamanivalu both attended Saint Kentigern College in Auckland where they both featured in First XV rugby. Vunivalu played on one wing and on the other wing for Melbourne was Marika Koroibete, who is in his final season with the Storm before he joins Super Rugby's Melbourne Rebels. 

Koroibete could find himself in contention for the Wallabies at some stage and has previously represented Fiji's rugby league team. I'm not telling this story to get in to the nitty-gritty of international rugby eligibility and what not, that's always up to the player as to who they want to represent. It's nothing more than noteworthy that Tamanivalu and Naholo were representing New Zealand, Kerevi and Kuridrani were representing Australia and that Radradra made his Australian debut earlier this year.

It's not every Saturday that so much Fijian action, drama and funk goes down. A Fijian snatched the headlines while a handful of other Fijian players all feature on one night. That's sport for you folks, shout out to Fiji.