Titans looking likely to win Fifita battle over Dragons, Raiders—and on cheaper coin too
January 24, 2023
David Fifita may not be on the move at the end of his $3 million Gold Coast Titans contract after all, with the Queensland club looking most likely to beat out the Canberra Raiders and St George Illawarra Dragons in the bubbling signing race.
There were originally talks that Fifita would move to Canberra alongside NRLW star Shaylee Bent, who he is dating. She is expected to be one of the star signings for the Valkyries team the capital’s rugby league club is putting together for their entry into the women’s competition in 2023. However, that has since fallen through.
The Raiders are still in with a shot, but Fifita and Bent are not tying their fortunes together.
Also in the mix are the Dragons, who have held several quiet talks with Fifita’s party about joining the Red V on top dollar. Their offer rivals the Canberra package that landed on the 22-year-old’s lap—around $900,000 a season to play in the second row.
The Sporting Base understands the Titans are offering a little less than that, at around $750,000 a year, but the extension would run over multi years and keep Fifita playing footy with the same setups and squadmates he has for the last two years and 40 games. The Gold Coast powerbrokers are so sure they can keep him they’re already looking at a preseason announcement.
The biggest concern for any team would be his form; while 2021 was a blistering turn in the blue and gold for the Indigenous superstar, he was paid more than $1.2 million last year to play just eighteen games (often off the bench) and score seven times.
Fifita lost his Queensland spot in 2022 but ended up playing for Tonga at the World Cup.
While things up still up in the air, Titans chief executive Steve Mitchell has gone on the record to say he is “hopeful” the Gold Coast outfit will keep their second-rower game-breaker.
“It’s hard to talk retention and recruitment but we’re hopeful for a positive outcome,” the Titans powerbroker said. “David enjoys the environment here but we’re under no illusions in regard to how much other clubs might want David given his capability. I think he enjoys the club and has a good environment here. He enjoys the coaching staff and playing group.
“Dave’s been with us for a few years and we’d certainly like him to stay. He’s been good and is training well, he seems to be in a good place. The reports of his training have been strong and he’s put his head down and gone to work.”
Whether he leaves or not, Fifita still has 2023 to play out on his current deal.
The Titans start their 2023 NRL campaign away to the Wests Tigers on Sunday, March 5. They then play the Dragons on the road and return to the Gold Coast in round three against the Storm.