Parramatta coach Brad Arthur has defended Semi Radradra’s form during the Eels’ loss to Cronulla.
Radradra had arguably his quietest game of the NRL season in Saturday’s 34-24 defeat to the Sharks at the end of a week in which he was charged with domestic violence offences.
The 24-year-old also arrived back late from a trip to his native Fiji, fuelling speculation he was set to depart the NRL for European rugby.
Arthur said the Australian Test winger’s build-up to the game had nothing to do with his below-par performance, insisting Radradra had been unfairly singled out.
“I think it’s harsh to say he didn’t have his best game,” Arthur said.
“He still had 15-odd carries and ran for over 120 metres.
“He’s not going to make a line break and run the length of the field every week.
“We played against a side that are premiership favourites and coming first, they’re a good defensive side and they did a really good job on him.”
For the first time this season, Radradra failed to post a major attacking statistic – finishing with no tries, try assists, line breaks or tackle busts.
This year, Radradra has been arguably the most damaging player in the competition, sitting in the top 10 for tries (10), line breaks (16), offloads (26) as well as averaging 152m.
But Arthur said suggestions Radradra’s mind was not on the job or that a limited preparation had hindered him were off the mark.
“After every bye we give him a bit of time off,” Arthur said.
“It was no different in Darwin – he had the one session going into a game and he was one of our best players.”