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Eels hold hope of welcoming back Radradra

Semi Radradra will board a plane to France to start his new career in rugby on Sunday, but Parramatta still hope to have him back in the NRL.

Eels hold hope of welcoming back Radradra

Semi Radradra will board a plane to France to start his new career in rugby on Sunday, but Parramatta still hope to have him back in the NRL.

Blink, and you'll miss Semi Radradra.

As the 25-year-old prepares to board a plane for France and play for rugby club Toulon as soon as next Monday, the Eels continue to hold out hope they'll have him back sooner rather than later.


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They know they will miss him too.

The bullocking winger gave one last final reminder to Eels fans of just what they'll be without next season in Saturday night's 24-16 semi-final loss to North Queensland.

Radradra opened the scoring for the Eels when after seven minutes he leapt to take a Te Maire Martin cross-field kick and ran 100 metres to score.

It was his 21st try of the year and his ninth in the past four weeks. Incredibly, it also marked his 82nd in 94 games at Parramatta - putting him fifth on the all-time list for the Eels, despite only spending five seasons at the club.

The Fijian flyer has made no secret of his desire to return to the NRL with Parramatta.

Radradra left the NRL during a period when he was fighting domestic violence charges, which were eventually dropped, signing with Toulon in that period.

However he could be back in Eels colours as soon as next season.

More likely though is a return in mid-2019 or for the beginning of 2020.

Regardless, Eels coach Brad Arthur is certain he doesn't want Saturday night's loss to be Radradra's last game for the club.

"It's disappointing for Semi to be going out on those terms," Arthur said.

"He's been great for our club. He's worked extremely hard to be the footballer he is now. At some stage we'd like to have him back."

The growth of Radradra has symbolised a significant turn around at the Eels.

He debuted in 2013 - just months before Arthur returned to the club as head coach and has learned the rules of rugby league along the way.

In that time he has gone on to become one of the most dominant wingers in the NRL, while the Eels didn't lose a regular-season game in which he scored a try this year.

And captain Tim Mannah echoed Arthur's views that the players hoped he would return to their dressing room in the coming seasons.

"Semi is a special player - one of those guys you love having around as well," Mannah said

"He'll be missed, but like Brad said hopefully we see him in blue-and-gold colours again. I wish him all the best."


AAP



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