When you think of Semi Radradra and that he is only playing in his 2nd full season of rugby league, you wonder how on Earth he is playing such brilliant football.
Still learning the game and developing as a player, Radradra starred for the Parramatta Eels in their win over the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium.
A win looked out of the question after the Tigers carried all the momentum into the 2nd half but a change in fortune and attitude gave the Eels the push and impetus they needed to win.
It was the Fijian flyer and some of their other stars that catapulted them into the lead, before eventually winning 28-16 in a quality local derby in front of over 15,000 fans.
With both sides missing Origin stars or players due to injury, both welcomed back players – the Eels Issac De Gois returned and Josh Drinkwater made his club debut for the Tigers.
There was a contentious moment regarding a try for James Tedesco, who was ruled to have knocked on in the act of grounding the ball early in the first half.
There was a rare try for Eels captain Tim Mannah, who scored for the first time since Rd 26, 2012.
The win sees the Eels move into 11th, just one spot outside the top eight with a bye coming up, whereas the Tigers languish in last place, desperate to find some form.
The man of the hour was Radradra, though, as the Fijian continues to impress and moves into equal first on the top try-scorers list, as he admits he is always working on his game to become a better player.
“I’ve been training there every day. I’ll be the last one on the field, doing catching. The boys help me out a lot,” Radradra said.
Tigers boss Jason Taylor lamented his side’s performance and knows that a lack of possession and completed sets played a big part.
“Possession, simply the weight of possession; 12-4 penalty count for the game, 41 sets to 29, simple as that,” said Taylor.
“I need to go and have a look at them. There’s a tackle and the ball comes out and nobody can tell what happened so we’ll have a look at that and I’ll talk to Tony Archer about that situation and it’s as simple as that.”
Eels captain Tim Mannah was just pleased that he could score for the first time in around two and a half years.
“It’s been a long time coming but the coaches put on a play there that gave me a chance and it kind of opened up a bit which was good,” Mannah said.
There was nothing but praise for Radradra, who became the first player in 61 years to score multiple tries in five consecutive matches.
“A lot of credit goes to him because our structures are really good and they give opportunities,” said Mannah.
“But to his credit, he’s the one creating the finishes for it and like Brad said, he’s been rock solid in all aspects of the game, not just his try-scoring ability, his dirty work and stuff not many people take notice off â€“ 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.”
With some form behind them and some players still recovering from injury, Arthur is pleased with where the club stands and believes the bye has probably come at a good time.
“It’s two points. It finishes off a pretty good period for us that we’ve had in this middle bit [of the season],” Arthur said.
“We do have a few injuries and we’ve got a lot of blokes that, we’re band-aiding them up to get them through at the moment. So the bye’s probably come at a good time for us.”
Both Brad Takairangi (shoulder charge) and Martin Taupau (high tackle) were put on report.
Player of the Game:
3. Semi Radradra
2. Chris Sandow
1. James Tedesco
Parramatta Eels 28 (Radradra 2, Mannah, Kelly, Sandow tries; Sandow 4 goals) defeated Wests Tigers 16 (Naiqama 2, Richards tries; Richards 2 goals). Half-time: Tigers 16-12. Crowd: 15,347. On report: Brad Takairangi (shoulder charge), Martin Taupau (high tackle).