He may be known as the Fijian flyer but Parramatta try-scoring sensation Semi Radradra has rocketed into the frame to make his Australian debut in May.
Radradra was at his destructive best as he spearheaded the Eels’ gutsy 20-6 NRL win over Canterbury on Friday night, having a hand in all three of his side’s tries.
He provided Michael Jennings with one of the best try assists in recent memory when he flew high to snatch a Kieran Foran bomb and spectacularly offloaded off the ground, before the Semi Trailer sealed his side’s win with two late four-pointers.
With his side holding an 8-0 advantage with 12 minutes to go, the two-time Dally M winger of the year crossed twice, including a spectacular solo effort in the 74th minute.
His late double brought up his 50th try in just 52 matches, continuing the 23-year-old’s prolific start to his career since his debut in 2013.
By comparison Melbourne’s Billy Slater and Manly’s Brett Stewart – who both sit in the top 10 on the all-time try scorers’ list – had just 37 four-pointers after 50 games.
And with Kangaroos backline stalwarts Slater (shoulder) and Brett Morris (knee) set to miss the May 6 Test against New Zealand, it has opened the door for Radradra to make his Australian debut.
Despite having played four Tests for Fiji, the Suava-born behemoth is eligible for Australia after recently being granted residency.
Asked about his phenomenal strike rate – which has him on track to break Ken Irvine’s all-time try scoring record of 212 – he said he had spent the pre-season working monotonously on his high ball skills.
In words that must be unsettling for opposition wingers, he revealed he had worked tirelessly to perfect his leap and grab, hinting he expected to have a lot more traffic directed his way.
“I’ve been working a lot on the high ball in the pre-season,” Radradra said.
“I’ve been working every day at training and it paid off today. They just kick the ball to me and I just jump.
“At training I just do the high ball, defence and attack from the halfway.”
Parramatta captain Kieran Foran said after playing just his second game alongside Radradra, he was in awe of his new teammate.
“Pretty bloody good. He’s a phenomenal athlete and he’s a really smart footballer,” Foran said.
“He trains his backside off and really puts in the hard yards. We needed him at his best tonight and he certainly was.”