Thursday 12 January 2017

Radradra trades Parramatta for France... but Eels must stick with him | #NRL #blueandgold

Don't cut short Semi's stay Parra... 
National Rugby League Premiership...
By W D Nicolson - January 12, 2017

Enjoy Semi in the Blue and Gold while you can footy fans... 
Admittedly, Semi Radradra's exit from Parramatta seemed inevitable but after two years of denials and a number of trips to Fiji - he will join Toulon Rugby in 2017. 

Not even the lure of the green and gold (yep, him playing for Australia in Newcastle last May DID happen) could keep him in the NRL - and let's be honest: If he didn't really want to be here, then he should take the money and run.

Whatever his situation - it is his call to leave. And he'll get paid - as the below quote from Parramatta's CEO indicates.
The offer from Toulon was substantially higher than our Club’s offer. We look forward to Semi being a most productive member of the 2017 Parramatta Eels playing squad and then we wish Semi well in his rugby union venture with Toulon. 
Bernie Gurr, Parramatta CEO.
'Substantially higher' means - he's getting millions not hundreds of thousands per year - but the Eels have stood firm in wanting one more year out of the best winger in the game.

And that's the key here for Parra - Semi is the best winger in the NRL (Valentine Holmes*, Josh Mansour and Corey Oates are in the queue behind him) and one of Parramatta's alternatives - Vai Toutai, is no longer at the club. 

Semi Radradra's Career NRL Stats (courtesy of RLP)

60 Tries in 68 games is, well... brilliant.

The argument that the club should move on and make Semi play reserve grade simply does not make the Eels better in 2017 - and after the events of 2016 - the club can't afford to put themselves behind the 8-ball before a game is played by benching Semi.

So they'll play him as long as they remain in playoff contention in 2017 - but should they be out of the picture, the Eels will likely release Semi as the French Top 14 comp begins around August... 

But right now - like 15 other teams, Parra will believe they are shot in 2017 and that means keeping and playing Semi in their top squad and enjoying his tryscoring benefits as long as they can.

* Holmes will transition to fullback in 2017 with Ben Barba's departure but at the end of 2016 - he was a winger.

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