‘It makes a mockery of the Aussie jersey’

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NRL: Parramatta are confident of uniting Semi Radradra and Jarryd Hayne in the Eels’ backline.

Will Radradra ever add to his one Test cap?


THE NRL might lose Semi Radradra, but he’s the one who risks losing his reputation and the respect of his peers if he goes.

The Parramatta Eels winger flew to Fiji on the weekend, with reports suggesting he had walked out on the under-siege club and would not return, keen instead to pursue a stint in French rugby. However, the club was adamant it had granted Radradra personal leave to visit his family in the South Pacific and was expecting him to come back.

While the exact details of what is going on remain disputed, there is no doubt if Radradra was to up and leave the Eels despite being contracted until the end of 2017 — a la Sonny Bill Williams at the Bulldogs in 2008 — the fallout will be ugly.

The 24-year-old made his debut for Australia in this year’s 16-0 win over New Zealand in the annual Anzac Test. He had lived in Fiji for 19 years of his life — making him ineligible to represent his adopted home state of NSW in the State of Origin series — but having been an Australian resident for more than three years, he was OK to pull on the green and gold.

Speaking on Triple M radio on Monday morning, former Penrith, NSW and Australian prop Mark Geyer said if the speedster quit the NRL now, he will have tarnished the Kangaroos jersey.

What’s really going on with Semi?

What’s really going on with Semi?Source:News Corp Australia

“If he leaves the code now and he’s gone, he’s made a mockery of the Australian jersey. He’s made a fair dinkum mockery (of it),” Geyer said on The Grill Team.

Bordeaux has been touted as the early frontrunner to secure the 2015 Dally M Winger of the Year’s signature should he choose to swap codes and play overseas, and Matty Johns said there was a massive financial incentive to do just that.

“Friends are saying that Radradra has left and he ain’t coming back,” said Johns.

“He’s on a contract at Parramatta they believe is worth about $325,000 a year, whereas the French rugby side Bordeaux is rumoured to have offered Semi $800,000 to $850,000 a season.”

Early reports by Channel Nine’s Danny Weidler suggested the Eels were willing to compromise to keep Radradra at the club long term. He reported on Saturday they were considering allowing the winger to play in France from August until April in return for a three-year commitment upon his return.

But Johns said it’s unlikely that would happen.

He’s been a rare shining light for the Eels in 2016.

He’s been a rare shining light for the Eels in 2016.Source:News Corp Australia

“Ian Schubert — he’s the stand in chief at the moment at Parramatta — he’s said, ‘No, that’s not on the table, he’s got a contract and he’s got to honour it,’” Johns said.

“I’ve never seen a club that’s had more controversy in one year, and we’re only halfway through.

“I’ve got a feeling this isn’t going to end well.”

The Radradra debacle is just another incident in a long list of things that have gone horribly wrong for the Eels in 2016 since they were docked 12 competition points and fined $1 million for systematically rorting the salary cap.

This forced the club to offload hooker Nathan Peats to the Gold Coast, representative forward Anthony Watmough retired, Joseph Paulo is now playing for Canberra and playmaker Kieran Foran spent time in a rehab facility for personal issues.

Somehow, they managed to beat the Rabbitohs 30-12 on Friday night, and have time to regroup with the bye next week.

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