Dyldam Parramatta Eels hooker Isaac De Gois says the absence of Blue and Gold winger Semi Radradra has not let himself or the rest of his Eels teammates down.
With De Gois expecting the return of Radradra on Friday, he expects the winger to do his job when the Eels take on the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks on Saturday night for Round 17 of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
“Brad said he will be back, so that’s what we are expecting. When he turns up, we are expecting Friday, so looking forward to seeing him on Friday,” De Gois said.
“It’s not a distraction at all. Semi in my opinion is the best winger in the world so if he turns up Friday, and I am sure he will, he will do his job whether he was here all week or just turns up on Friday.
“Me personally, he hasn’t let me down. I am pretty sure, speaking on behalf of the players, he hasn’t let anyone down.” De Gois added.
With the Eels squad dealing with off-field distractions for the majority of the year, De Gois said that the side has been focused on playing football, and not worrying about issues they can not control.
With news overnight that Kieran Foran had been relieved of his captaincy duties for the remainder of the season, De Gois said it was not an issue.
“Foz is out for the year with the shoulder injury, so obviously somebody had to step up and take the captaincy role and I guess it’s not really that much of an issue,” De Gois said.
“When you look at the start of the year, there has been quite a fair few distractions but I don’t think there is a breaking point.” He added.
“This won’t be the last distraction either, there will be something else that pops up that you guys will figure out so we will just deal with it.”
“We are footy players, paid to play footy and we will do that.”
De Gois said it was a credit to the way the rest of the Eels squad had handled the year and the off-field distractions, currently sitting fourth on the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder after 16 rounds.
“We are still winning games, still playing well and our supporters and fans are turning up to games so I think it hasn’t been that bad at all to be honest with you,” De Gois said.
“It [our position on the ladder] shows that the boys turn up and play for each other and that’s what you need in an NRL team.”
“We are doing that, and will continue to do that till the end of the year, no matter what gets tossed up.”
The Eels kick off against the Sharks at 7.30pm on Saturday, July 2, at Southern Cross Group Stadium in the 2016 Johnny Mannah Cup.