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Maika Sivo's parents always insisted he remain loyal and stay in blue and gold, even when it meant sacrificing an extra several hundred thousand dollars on offer from French rugby union.

Sivo was the first of the Eels' off-contract stars to put pen to paper with Parramatta last month, inking a two-year deal (with the second season an option in his favour) despite attracting lucrative interest from overseas rugby.

NRL.com understands at least two cashed-up clubs from the French Top 14 competition made clear they were prepared to pay upwards of $600,000 a year to lure Sivo abroad.

But following Fijian predecessor Semi Radradra into a multi-million-dollar deal in Europe never lingered long in Sivo's mind, with his new Parramatta salary understood to be worth significantly less, amounting to a six-figure sacrifice in the by the Eels winger.

Emotional shots of Sivo's father Joeli being flown in to watch his son light up Bankwest Stadium in 2019 provided some of rugby league's favourite warm and fuzzies of recent years.

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And the message from Joeli and mother Mere couldn't have been clearer to Sivo when it came to his next contract.

"Parra were the first club to give me an opportunity to play NRL," Sivo told NRL.com.

"My parents always told me to stick with them because of that.

"They know I'm in good hands here and I'm very happy to stay for another two years.

"It was an easy decision for me to stay. I love this club.

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"I know the attraction in rugby. But I never thought in my mind to go there.

"I'm just very happy here, so that made it easy to choose staying with Parra. I can't see [myself] playing rugby league anywhere else, I don't want to wear anything but a Parra jumper.

"I love the staff, the coach and the group of players here."

Staying put with Parramatta also allows Sivo to begin an Australian permanent residency application next year. 

From the moment he started making a crust in rugby league, still only 50 NRL games ago, Sivo has been sending money back to his family in Fiji.

Renovations on his mother's home, one of around 130 houses in the tiny village of Momi, have been on Sivo's to-do list for some time due to COVID-19 delays.

"But I've got my carpenter coming back again soon for another quotation and I want to finish it before the end of the year," Sivo said.

"I think it will be four or five bedrooms and we'll fix up the bathroom and kitchen for my family.

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"It feels so good to do something like that for my mum and dad. It's only the start. They've done so much for me since I was little growing up and this is my best way to repay them with a house."

The Fijian flavour will continue this Sunday at Bankwest against the Dragons when Sivo marks up on countryman Mikaela Ravalawa.

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Sivo's 27 tries from 25 games at the venue make for a phenomenal strike rate, though Ravalawa has also made it a happy hunting ground with four tries from as many visits.

But after his form dipped for the first time in his NRL career late last season, it is a different set of numbers coach Brad Arthur uses to push Sivo each week.

"I like to score tries obviously. But my work rate is what's important," he said.

"That's what BA challenges me on and that's what I challenge myself on every week.

"We talk about trying to make 15-plus carries every week, 150 metres-plus every week. That's the kind of thing we look at."

 

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