Semi Radradra has asked Parramatta to keep space under their salary cap in 2018 to allow him to return to the Eels for the second half of next season after a stint in French rugby.
The Fijian winger produced an incredible individual display in the 52-34 defeat of Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night, weaving his way around defenders with ease in a four-try performance as Parramatta surged into the top four.
Radradra will join French rugby team Toulon after this season but said in the aftermath of the try-scoring spree in Brisbane that his intention was to “try something different and then come back to the NRL”.
Should be decide to do that after one season in Europe, Radradra could potentially be in a position to re-join Brad Arthur’s team next May and it has emerged that the 25-year-old has asked the club keep that option available by leaving space in next year’s salary cap for his return.
With Radradra such a weapon for the Eels out wide – he had registered his hat-trick against the Broncos after only 20 minutes, and three minutes after half-time he scored a length-of-the-field fourth – Parramatta have suddenly emerged as genuine title contenders as they approach a first semi-finals appearance since 2009.
“When he is in those moods, he is a hard man to stop,” Parramatta captain Tim Mannah said.
“He just showed his abilities [on Thursday] night. There are obviously parts of his game, in defence, that he wasn’t happy with as well, but that’s like all of us. Defensively we could have been a lot better. But it’s a good time to not have your best game and still get the result.
“I think that’s the kind of footy we know he can play. He was doing that a lot last year, that kind of footy. He’s had some good patches this year but I think that’s the way we know he can play and it’s happening at the right time of the year. If he keeps that up in the next few weeks anything can happen.”
Mannah said Radradra’s Parramatta teammates would be twisting the arm of the winger to return to the Eels as early as next season.
“We will be. He’s come out and openly said he loves the club and would love to come back one day,” Mannah said. “He’s got a bit of time to do over there but I’m confident one day we’ll see him back in the blue and gold.”
Radradra’s jaw-dropping try frenzy was described by former dual international Wendell Sailor as one of the best individual performances he had seen and stunned even the man himself.
“I was pretty shocked I scored four tries. I think the boys make me look good from the outside,” Radradra told Triple M radio.
“I’m very happy with my performance. I just want to play good footy every week and leave on a high note with this club before going to France. I just want to be the best winger.”
Asked whether he would be back at the Eels, he replied: “I just want to try something different and then come back to the NRL.”