Fijian Flyer Opts For Oz

Semi Radradra has starred in the blue and gold. Now he wants to do likewise in the green and gold. The Fijian Flyer was recently granted Australian residency and is
25 Feb 2016 11:10
Fijian Flyer Opts For Oz
Jarryd Hayne (left) and Semi Radradra in 2014.

Semi Radradra has starred in the blue and gold. Now he wants to do likewise in the green and gold.

The Fijian Flyer was recently granted Australian residency and is aiming to represent the Kangaroos this year.

Radradra, the game’s most potent back after scoring 48 tries in 49 NRL appearances, has represented his native Fiji on four occasions. But like his idol Jarryd Hayne, the 23 year old also has ambitions to break into Mal Meninga’s side for the Anzac Test against New Zealand.

And while he would also like to wear the sky blue in the State of Origin arena, the game’s eligibility rules preclude him from playing for NSW because he hasn’t played any of his junior football in the state.

Radradra is already on track to break all of the NRL’s try scoring records after the Eels were rewarded for taking a punt on the Fijian rugby sensation. While he has an uncanny knack for crossing the line, ‘The Semi Trailer’ is just as valuable bringing the ball back from his own territory early in the tackle count.

The Dally M winger of the year could be more potent still in 2016 when he is joined on a lethal Parramatta left edge alongside Roosters recruit Michael Jennings.

If he can maintain his phenomenal try scoring rate of almost one per game, Radradra will mount an almost irresistible case to be part of Meninga’s first Test side.

“The desire is to play for Australia and that has been conveyed to Mal Meninga,” said Radradra’s manager, George Christodoulou.

“When he was made aware of it, [Meninga] was pleasantly surprised. It’s now up to Semi to start the season like he did the back end of last year and put the pressure on the incumbents. Hopefully he can jag a spot for the Anzac Test.

“Semi is eligible to play for Australia now, we’ve made those enquiries and he has been here long enough to be eligible now that he has his permanent residency.

“The issue with NSW is that they changed those rules a couple of years ago. As it stands now, he’s not eligible because he hasn’t played any junior rugby league in NSW or Queensland before he was 18.

“He would have loved to challenge himself on that stage but the way it stands now under the NRL rules, it’s not possible.”

If he were to fulfil his ambition, Radradra’s would be one of the most unlikely journeys to Kangaroos honours. Former Eels recruiter Peter Nolan took a punt on Radradra after watching him star in a Sevens tournament in Dubai about four years ago. At that point, the Eels cult figure had never played a game of rugby league and was better known for his exploits in his pet track and field events, the 200m or the javelin.

If not for Hayne, Radradra probably wouldn’t have left his tiny Fijian village of Somosomo and would have remained in the township of Taveuni as a kava farmer.

“That’s because he’s famous, everyone loves him,” Radradra told Fairfax Media upon joining Parramatta.

“When I got the contract [from the Eels], I said: ‘I think Jarryd Hayne is there [so] I sign.



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