Embattled Parramatta have denied Australian representative Semi Radradra has walked out on the NRL club.
The Nine Network reported on Saturday the two-time Dally M winger of the year boarded a plane that morning to return to his native Fiji, and told the Eels he would not be coming back.
It reported that Radradra had told the club he hoped to pursue a career with French rugby union beyond 2017.
Nine also said the Eels were seeking a compromise that would allow him to play for the club and moonlight in European rugby from August to April in return for him signing a three-year deal.
However, the club is understood to have paid for and organised the flights to Fiji and said in a statement on Saturday night they expected him to be back in Sydney in time for the Eels’ next match on July 2 against Cronulla.
“Semi Radradra is contracted to play for the Parramatta Eels until the end of the 2017 season, and has given no indication that the contract will not be honoured,” they said.
After making his debut in 2014, Radradra quickly established himself as the most-damaging outside back in the game, topping the league try-scoring list last year with 24 four-pointers.
He went out with a bang before boarding for Fiji, scoring a scintillating length-of-the field try in the Eels’ 30-12 Friday night win over South Sydney.
He caused headlines earlier in the year when he changed his allegiance to Australia and represented the Kangaroos in May’s Test against New Zealand.
The Eels’ season has lurched from disaster to disaster and, this week, they are expected to have their penalties confirmed for alleged salary-cap breaches, including being stripped of 12 competition points.
The saga forced the club to offload Nathan Peats and Ryan Morgan, while Anthony Watmough was forced into retirement.
Star playmaker Kieran Foran was struck down with a season-ending shoulder injury after he took a mid-season sabbatical to address personal issues.