The future of David Fifita beyond this season is still up in the air for the time being but it appears as though the boom backrower may be inching closer to a decision.
“[Talks have] been ongoing now for a few weeks between our club and Dave,” Justin Holbrook told local media after reports emerged of Canberra pulling out of the race for his services.
Gold Coast Titans ‘ideally’ want to sort out David Fifita’s future before the 2023 season begins
Since breaking onto the scene with the Broncos and becoming one of the most sought-after players in the game, Fifita has struggled to live up to the lofty expectations. Although, he still has plenty of admirers in the NRL as he enters into the final year of his deal with the Titans.
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The Raiders and St George have reportedly chased hard for his signature in the off-season, while Holbrook has repeatedly stated that the club wants to retain him.
“I’ve said all along that we want to keep him here, so if we can get something sorted then I’ll be really happy,” he said.
However, Holbrook remained unsure on when Fifita would possibly put pen to paper and commit to a new deal.
“As for a time frame – I’ve got no idea. It’s just an ongoing process,” he said.
“It doesn’t worry me. Ideally, I think the sooner the better for everyone. I certainly won’t face as many questions on it, so from that front it’d be easier. But as I said, I don’t know on the time frame.”
The under-pressure coach admitted that with just six weeks to go until the new season begins, he would like to have a definitive answer one way or another on where Fifita’s future lies.
“Ideally, yes [he signs before the season begins] so we can get on with it,” he said. “But if not, it won’t impact us.”
David Fifita looking to bounce back after a disappointing season
The 22-year-old enjoyed a stellar first campaign with the Titans after inking a lucrative deal to depart from Red Hill. He scored 17 tries in 22 matches, becoming the focal point of his side’s attack.
Yet this shifted during a disappointing 2022, which saw the backrower, at one stage, pushed out into the centres and entering the fray off the bench as he was usurped on the left edge by Beau Fermor.
He managed just seven tries last year, while also registering poorly in other attacking metrics that had previously been a cornerstone of his game.
His linebreaks, offloads, and average running metres were all well down on what has come to be expected of him.
The Titans will be hoping that his performance levels were just a temporary blip, and he is able to recapture the spark which made him such a damaging prospect for defensive lines.
Meanwhile, the club’s CEO, Steve Mitchell, reiterated Holbrook’s stance on wanting to keep the talented forward, who made just 44 appearances for Brisbane before signing one of the biggest deals in the game’s history.
“It’s hard to talk retention and recruitment but we’re hopeful for a positive outcome with David,” Mitchell told News Corp last weekend.
“David enjoys the environment here but we’re under no illusions in regard to how much other clubs might want David, given his capability.
“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, so he seems to be in a good place.”