Semi Radradra didn’t want to talk about it, but teammate Michael Jennings had no problems doing the explaining for him.
The Parramatta star declined to discuss his controversial decision to represent Australia after Sunday’s loss to Penrith, despite calls for him to play for his native Fiji in May’s Test against Papua New Guinea.
The 23-year-old is instead in the hot seat to play on the left wing for Australia in the annual mid-year Test against New Zealand on May 6 in Newcastle.
Incumbent Kangaroos centre Jennings welcomed Radradra’s call to pull on the green and gold, saying he would love to replicate their club combination for their country.
“If we get that opportunity, I’d love to play with Semi there,” Jennings told AAP.
“He’s been playing well, playing the best footy, so there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be there. It’s his decision and choice. That’s who he wants to represent.
“He’s an Australian now and if they’ve made it eligible for him, then there’s nothing wrong with it.”
Radradra was strong in a losing side on Sunday, running 132 on 14 carries and was a constant threat with Jennings down the Eels’ left edge.
Jennings said his winger was one of, if not the best, in the competition.
“He’s up there. You’ve got Corey Oates there, who’s playing awesome. But he’s up there with the usual wingers that are playing good each week,” he said.
Penrith local Bryce Cartwright scored after the siren in a tightly-fought local derby, avoiding what would’ve been their fourth agonising loss of the year by eight points or less.
It was a head-spinning Sunday in round five of the NRL, with Warriors No.1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck finishing off a length-of-the-field try in golden point to stun former team Sydney Roosters 32-28 in Gosford.
In fact, there were close results across the entire round, with six of the seven games decided by ten points or less.
South Sydney premiership hero Sam Burgess made a successful return from a scary neck injury to help his side to a 16-12 win over Manly, while Brisbane held off fast-finishing neighbours Gold Coast 24-16.
Melbourne shrugged off some patchy form to hold out Newcastle 18-14, while Cronulla overcame two contentious obstruction calls to record a 34-26 win over Wests Tigers in Campbelltown.
The only blowout of the weekend was North Queensland’s 36-0 shutout of an insipid St George Illawarra unit in Townsville, that had Dragons coach Paul McGregor threatening to wield the axe post-game.