Hard work behind Radradra's stunning finale
Semi Radradra had already completed his sixth career hat-trick for the Eels against the Dragons on Sunday but his fourth try – scored late in the game off a set play – only came about via some late improvisation.
Radradra himself was typically humble when discussing his performance, admitting he wanted to be more involved after a quiet season opener.
"I was happy to finally get four tries... The hard work from the boys paid off and I was just there to finish it off," Radradra said after the game.
"I was very quiet [last week]. And then finally crossed over the line today and very happy."
Radradra's first two tries came off the back of quality lead-up and passing from inside man Michael Jennings while his third was a simple overlap that needed only the right cut-out pass from Corey Norman to help him over untouched.
The fourth though was a sight to behold, with the left-edge specialist running a scorching line as third man in from the right edge; the space was created by long balls by Norman and five-eighth Clint Gutherson with a lovely catch-and-pass back inside from fullback Bevan French saw Radradra plant the ball in the right-hand corner.
Radradra said that as part of his mission to get more involved he had been involved on the previous play and hadn't had time to get back to his side of the field.
"Some plays we try to get off our wing. It's a play first before I was on the right side and it was too tough for me to get back to my side so I stayed there for a bit," he said.
"It's pretty difficult to defend as well. The confusion is tough."
It was a long way from a completely improvised play though, with plenty of run-throughs at training on similar set plays under coach Brad Arthur.
"We've been working hard in the pre-season about our combinations. [Arthur] lets us do whatever we want to do. He never tells me to just stay on the wing. Sometimes if it stays quiet I come find the ball. I want to get myself involved in the game as much as I can," Radradra said.
French – who had a whale of a game himself with a wonderful solo try as well as that try assist – said the play originally called for right side winger Josh Hoffman to collect the inside ball.
"To be honest we practised it all week going to the left side with Hoffy on the inside then we got into game day and they switched it around," French said.
"[Radradra] is always in and around the ball and he was very good today.
"All week we practised it going to the left side with Josh on the inside but we took it too wide from that field position so we switched it around and it was good work from 'Bula', he called it. He was on tonight."
Arthur said he was happy with Radradra's efforts, which have come on the back of a tumultuous off-season that included him signing a deal with French Rugby club Toulon for 2018 while having domestic violence charges hanging over his head with a court hearing adjourned until May.
"He likes being around his teammates. His teammates have been fantastic for him. He's got a bit of clarity at the moment. We like to see a happy boy," Arthur said of his star winger.
"Semi has a license to go and get his hands on the football. He's one of our strikes. We're not going to pigeon-hole him into one side of the field. It's very hard to plan defensively against him when he's doing things like that (scoring tries on the right edge).
"He turned up well in the right areas. He benefited from a lot of hard work from the rest of the team."