The Daily Telegraph
LOGIE winner Rachel Friend has emerged as the surprise person working behind the scenes to help Eels cult hero Semi Radradra adjust to life in front of the camera.
Radradra broke Parramatta’s try-scoring record last year, and his blazing start to this season has ensured he’s been in hot demand with all media outlets.
He did three separate interviews with Channel 9 alone after he terrorised the Bulldogs last Friday night.
While no rival player can spook Radradra, anyone holding a camera or microphone clearly can.
He isn’t alone. And that’s how Friend and her PR company, Mediafriendly, were first introduced to Radradra.
Friend, who took out the Most Popular Actress gong at the 1990 Logies, and also worked as a journalist, said Radradra had improved from the time she first met him a couple of years ago.
They worked together a few times over the summer.
“He was very shy and unsure of himself, and English wasn’t his first language, so he was a bit self conscious,’’ Friend told Sports Confidential.
“My role was to give him encouragement and a sense of what to expect when he speaks to journalists. Despite the language barrier, he’s always had some amazing stories to tell. Last year he did an interview with the Sunday Footy Show and Yvonne Sampson – I cried. It was very moving.’’
Friend has worked with other NRL clubs in the past, including South Sydney, but stopped short of saying Radradra had converted her to cheer for the Eels.
Radradra still has plenty of work to do. He has made an effort to elaborate on his answers during a couple of recent print interviews. He’s more than happy to keep putting in the hard yards, especially given the outside interest won’t die down any time soon.