Parramatta winger Semi Radradra not only returned to the top of the NRL tryscoring list with another scorching run on Saturday night, but also he’s fast becoming an Eels leader.
The 23-year-old crossed for his 18th try of the season in Saturday night’s dour 10-4 win over Penrith in Darwin, nudging ahead of Canterbury flyer Curtis Rona for the game’s mantle as top tryscorer.
In doing so, the third-year player broke a two-game “drought” and avoided going scoreless in a three-game stretch for just the second time in his 45-game career.
Radradra was again one of Parramatta’s best, levelling the scores with a trademark run early in the second half before finishing the match with a game-high 239 metres.
He also added three tackle breaks and three line breaks.
And while Parramatta coach Brad Arthur was pleased with his attacking output, he pointed to another marked improvement in Radradra’s development as a bona fide star.
“He’s a talent. He probably got us out of jail a few times, out of the red zone. He’s really starting to learn the game,” he said.
“But the big thing for Semi is he’s talking more and he’s starting to become a little bit of a leader around the place, which is great.”
Arthur said the win was just reward for a hearty defensive effort in the first half when the Eels were forced into seven line dropouts.
“At one stage there, we made nearly 100 tackles more. We defended 12 sets to four in the first 20 minutes – I think they had eight sets in a row,” he said.
The win snapped their losing streak at three and ensures the Eels remain a mathematical chance of sneaking into the top eight.
The Eels lifted themselves to 20 points, four behind 8th-placed Canterbury with just over a month remaining in the regular season.