Is Parramatta winger Semi Radradra the best tryscorer Australian rugby league fans have seen in 60 years?
After etching his name into the history books in his side’s 28-16 win over the Wests Tigers on Monday night, he certainly deserves to be in discussion.
Radradra nabbed his fifth brace in as many matches on Monday night, becoming the first player to do so since Newtown winger Ray Preston in 1954.
The 23-year-old’s double means he has now crossed for 11 tries in his past five matches, giving him a total of 16 tries for the year and joining Canterbury flyer Curtis Rona as the league’s leading tryscorer – despite playing five games fewer.
The reigning Dally M Winger of the Year said “it feels good” to have achieved such a rare feat, but paid tribute to his forward pack for providing him with so many opportunities.
“Every week I just want to score a try and help the boys. I’m just finishing all the hard work from the middle,” he said.
In a battle of the flying Fijians, Radradra said he wanted to make up for allowing fellow countryman Kevin Naiqama to score a double of his own in the first half – including one where he got badly burnt on his outside.
“I was really disappointed. That’s my job. I let the boys down with that try,” he said.
“They scored a couple of tries down my side and I wanted to give it back.”
Added coach Brad Arthur: “Tonight in the first half he wasn’t that great, but to his credit he aimed up better in the second half.”
Radradra more than redeemed himself, soaring twice over his counterpart in an aerial assault that also netted him a try assist for halfback Chris Sandow.
Naiqama and Radrada were seen praying together on-field after the game.
“Win or lose, that’s how we do, us Fijian boys. We come together and praise the Lord,” Radradra said.
Eels skipper Tim Mannah, who crossed for his first try in three years on Monday night, said Radradra had evolved his game to become more than a tryscoring specialist.
“He’s been rock solid in all aspects of the game, not just his tryscoring ability,” he said.
“His dirty work and stuff not many people take notice off – his carries out of our red zones, his defensive efforts, and just his all-round energy.
“He’s been talking a lot more before games as well, which has been rare but he’s doing that a lot the last few weeks. He’s starting to grow a lot as a player and as a person.”