Semi Radradra of the Eels looks on during the round 4 NRL match between the West Tigers and the Parramatta Eels at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Monday, March 28, 2016. (AAP Image/Paul Miller) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Semi Radradra of the Eels looks on during the round 4 NRL match between the West Tigers and the Parramatta Eels at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Monday, March 28, 2016. (AAP Image/Paul Miller) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY PAUL MILLER

OPINION: Semi will not cop it if he decides to leave

I REMEMBER the day Sonny Bill Williams chose to walk out on the Canterbury Bulldogs and link with French rugby.

Some of my best friends were faithful Doggies fans, so the opportunity to give back some of the heat I copped as a long-suffering Rabbitohs in the mid-2000s was too good to pass.

The NRL and the way we view its players, has changed in the near-decade since, which means if rumours surrounding Semi Radradra's impending departure are true he won't cop it anywhere near as much as Sonny Bill did.

I lived in Sydney in 2008, so it was impossible to escape the barrage of criticism Sonny Bill faced not only from the media, but from fans of all 16 NRL clubs.

Sonny Bill copped it when he returned to rugby league in 2012, but the number of fans who applauded the globe-trotting, multi-sport star far outweighed those who tried to drag him down.

News broke of Semi Radradra's rumoured departure just hours after his sensational 95m effort against South Sydney, but Parramatta have since put out a release which said they granted him leave to return to Fiji, but will be back for their 17th-round clash with Cronulla.

If he chooses not to return and pursue the dollars of European rugby, how can anyone, in this age of Sonny Bills and Jarryd Hayne's hold anything against him?

We, as a collective sporting nation, supported and applauded Sonny Bill's return to league then subsequent pursuit of a Rugby 7s Olympic medal, and watched in awe as Hayne played his way into the San Francisco 49ers.

The only person entitled to be upset is Nathan Peats, who was forced out of the Eels just weeks ago due to the club's salary cap issues.

If he comes back in Round 17, as the Eels expect, the Internet outrage will have been good for only one thing: the hilarious memes.



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