NRL: Former Kangaroos star Wendell Sailor believes that Semi Radradra’s happiness is the most important thing when deciding whether to make the transition to French rugby
THE major sponsor of Semi Radradra already had plans to tap into the French rugby market in 2018 — but believe their Parramatta pin-up will remain in the NRL.
Xblades is an Australian company that specialises in football boots and apparel, and sponsor several Eels and Cronulla stars, including Radradra, Paul Gallen, Andrew Fifita and Tepai Moeroa.
Managing director Bill Spyros told The Daily Telegraph he would not rule out continuing to sponsor Radradra if he switched codes.
There had already been preliminary discussions about promoting Radradra through Europe along side other Xblades ambassadors, including England rugby captain Dylan Hartley.
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It’s already been well documented Radradra’s deal with the Eels and Xblades as a third-party is worth $375,000 a season.
While Spyros is prepared to back Radradra in his own right, it would be a bonus if he remained in the blue and gold because of Xblades’ long association with the Eels.
Radradra’s Xblades’ deal started last year and finished at the end of 2017. Not only does he wear Xblades’ boots, he also appears in their marketing and promotional campaigns.
“Before we’d make any decision we’d have to have a one-on-one conversation with Semi and get him to explain his reasons if he was going to make a change and then decide,’’ Spyros told The Daily Telegraph.
“We’d like to endeavour to support Semi because he is such a great athlete. But at this stage I don’t accept that Semi will go to French rugby.
“In my opinion he will stay in the NRL, and that’s based on conversations we had with him before he went to Fiji. We’ve been close with him and he’s given no indication he would leave the NRL.
“He’s an exciting player and exciting players motivate people to buy your brand. He’s important to us and we’d like him to continue playing NRL and remain with our brand.’’
Radradra’s ability to bust tackles and score tries makes him a sponsor’s dream.
Parramatta know their winger would have added marketing appeal if he could improve his English, which is why they have spent plenty of time working with him in that area, including some tuition with Gold Logie winner Rachel Friend.
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