Radradra had to go but keen to return
Parramatta Eels flyer Semi Radradra says a turbulent time off the field meant he had to get away from the game but is keen to return – possibly as soon as next year.
After much back-and-forth with his club, Radradra eventually decided his future lay in French rugby, signing a lucrative one-year deal with Toulon with an option in his favour for a second year.
But Radradra hopes to return and become a long-term Eel and with the northern rugby finals finishing mid-year, he could technically come back before the June 30 deadline in 2018 or, failing that, be on board for the 2019 NRL pre-season.
"I would love to come back here, to come back and play rugby league again after [France]," Radradra said.
"If the door was open for me here I would come back, I'm happy to come back and play rugby league again."
Earlier this year Radradra was cleared of domestic violence charges, leaving him free to travel and work overseas or stay, but he said the dramas meant he needed to get away for a time.
"If I take this option, it's about stuff happening in my past that forced me to sign this deal to play rugby union," he said.
"I'm looking forward to coming back here. I think I needed to get away for a bit from everything that happened with me in my past, I needed to go away and come back and start new again."
But he stressed that if and when he does return, the Eels will definitely be his first – and at this stage only – port of call.
"The club is always my first option, it's only this club. It's up to them if they want me. If they sign me I'm happy, if they open the door for me I'll come back here," he said.
Radradra stated last year that it was one of his goals to be the best Fijian rugby league player in the world; that goal still drives him and will help drive his return to league. His more immediate goal, though, is to ensure his beloved blue and goal end a seven-year finals drought.
"We want to finish strong. I do personally. I want to make the top eight, I want to play finals this year," Radradra said.
"My personal goals, before I leave Parra, I want to set some high standards. I want to take this team to the finals and try to focus on playing good footy every week.
"[The drive to be the best] is still in me every day. I want to be the [best] Fijian winger to play NRL… Hopefully I come back next year and finish off in rugby league.
"Hopefully I stay here for life, I'd love to stay at this club. This club I always called my home too. Everyone here's been looking after me.
"The club, the boys. We're tight here. I would love to come back here and finish."