SOO: QLD camp invaded by kangaroos ahead of game 2 of the 2016 State of Origin series.
SEMI Radradra has been described as a “once in a lifetime player”, but is enough being done to keep him in rugby league?
While Parramatta remain convinced Radradra, who flew to Fiji at the weekend, will back in Australia by Sunday, there remains concerns the NRL cult figure is unhappy with his $250,000-a-year deal.
There have also been suggestions the 24-year-old’s management missed a lucrative opportunity to have him become the face of Fiji Airways — a role since accepted by Jarryd Hayne.
This year, Parramatta were contacted by airline representatives keen to sign the Fijian flyer — and promptly passed on details of his management team. No deal, however, was struck.
Then last Wednesday, Hayne was unveiled as the new global ambassador of Fiji Airways, only weeks after announcing his push to represent at the Rio Olympics.
Radradra’s manager George Christodoulou failed to return calls from The Daily Telegraph on Sunday night.
More than just an Australian Test player, Radradra is one of the most recognised faces in the NRL.
Indeed, Eels great Peter Wynn says, when it comes to jersey sales at his popular Parramatta sports store, the Fijian flyer is the undisputed No.1.
“Oh, Semi’s the man, absolutely,’’ Wynn said.
“Since arriving in rugby league, the guy has been a revelation.
“Everybody out here wants their jersey with his number two on the back.
“And why not? We’re talking about a once-in-a-lifetime player. So how can we lose him? We can’t lose him.
“Parramatta and the NRL have to do everything they can to keep him in the game.”
Fellow Eels premiership legend Eric Grothe agreed: “Semi is trying to get as much money as he can — and fair enough.
“He has created so much hype … I think the game has to pay what is required to keep him.”
Radradra is contracted to the Eels until the end of next season.
Already, the hulking flanker has made an extra $20,000 thanks to his controversial Test debut with the Kangaroos.
Yet because the winger was still a Fijian international when his last Parramatta deal was struck, he missed out on the rep bonuses other players have written into their contracts.
Radradra is also paid less than several Eels teammates — and is thought to boast fewer sponsors — despite having replaced Hayne as the undisputed face of the club.
As far as his contract goes, Parramatta officials are open to an upgrade over the final 18 months of his deal, but only if Radradra agrees to re-sign for a further two or three years.
“We have to do whatever it takes to keep him,’’ Wynn said.
“And I know the club agrees.
“Given what Semi Radradra means to the club and to the game, we can leave no stone unturned when it comes to making sure he stays in the NRL.”
In April, it was revealed Radradra had sent more than $200,000 home to his family, who have moved from a small island village into a house on Fiji’s main island.