Parramatta winger Semi Radradra is the toast of the NRL after becoming the first player in 61 years to score five consecutive doubles in first grade.
The Fijian powerhouse’s second-half brace – along with a superb try assist – in a man-of-the-match performance spearheaded the controversy-stricken Eels’ third straight win, a 28-16 success over Wests Tigers, as they defy the odds to stay in top-eight contention.
The 23-year-old Radradra only moved to Australia three years ago, the same amount of time he has been playing Rugby League after being a junior rep star in Union, and his English is still limited. But the 105kg try-machine has developed into one of the code’s great personality players.
The ‘Semi Trailer’ also bagged doubles against Penrith, North Queensland and Melbourne, and raced over for a hat-trick against St George Illawarra, before notching another two tries against the Tigers to create history.
Radradra emulated the feat of Newtown winger Ray Preston, who crossed for two doubles and three hat-tricks in the final five rounds of the 1954 premiership on his way to 34 tries for the season – second only to Easts centre Dave Brown’s premiership record 38 tries in 1935.
Cult hero Radradra has now scored an incredible 16 tries in just 10 outings this year after recovering from an early-season injury spell. Despite the seven-week layoff, he is set to go hammer-and-tongs with Canterbury flyer Curtis Rona, who has dotted down 16 times in 15 games, for the season’s top try-scorer mantle.
With a record of 40 tries in 41 first grade games, Radradra could be the player to eventually challenge some of the seemingly untouchable tryscoring records that have stood for decades. No player has scored more than 27 tries in a season since ’54, but the blue-and-golds’ strike weapon could give that mark a nudge if his current hot streak continues.