Almost 18 months after losing Semi Radradra, Parramatta may just be about to unleash the next flying Fijian to dominate the NRL.
At least that’s what fellow Fijian star Waqa Blake reckons his former Penrith clubmate Maika Sivo can prove to be when he gets his first grade shot on Sunday.
The 25-year-old has been handed his debut in the Eels’ season-opener against the Panthers, and Blake believes fans will immediately liken Sivo to Radradra.
“I reckon they’ve got the same mould. They’re both tall, and built with straight, Fijian muscle. I wish I had a bit of that, but I’m unlucky,” Blake told AAP.
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“He’s massive. And if you see the way he runs, he’s unstoppable.”
Blake built a close bond with Sivo during his time at the Panthers, where he amassed a remarkable try-scoring rate in the lower grades.
From park footy to reserve grade, it is believed he racked up 105 tries in four years.
To put that in perspective, las t year’s leading tryscorer David Fusitu’a has 68 tries in his past four NRL seasons with the Warriors.
Radradra scored 82 tries in 94 games in five seasons for the Eels before switching codes to rugby union .
“We trained a lot together, running with each other in the pack. He doesn’t say much. He just does his thing,” Blake said.
“But he just shows out on the field. He’s a tryscoring machine. He spent three years with us and he couldn’t stop scoring tries.
“It’ll be a big focus for us this week. It doesn’t matter if he hasn’t played NRL. He’s going to be massive for them.”
Eels coach Brad Arthur said he had kept an eye on Sivo after watching him during a trial game last year and immediately phoned recruitment officer Peter Sharp.
“I said, ‘Mate, there’s a good kid out here’. And we’ve been tracking him since then. He’s worked really hard,” Arthur said.
“(He) gets a good opportunity tomorrow against a club that g ave him a leg-up.”
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