David Fifita signs a two-year, $1.6 million extension

The Titans have received another boost after their first round win by locking away one of their stars in overtime and keeping him out of the hands of state rivals Brisbane.

The Titans have fended off a poaching bid from the Broncos and Canberra to keep blockbusting forward David Fifita in a $2.4 million retention coup.

Fifita agreed on Monday night a three-year extension to give the Titans a big boost – and fell short of an 11th-hour bid from arch-rivals Broncos to bring the Queensland Origin ace back to Red Hill.

The Raiders had submitted an offer worth up to $900,000 a season to poach Fifita, while the Broncos got in late in the race after Dolphin defectors Herbie Farnworth and Tom Flegler offered $1.5 million had cleared salary caps.

There were fears the Broncos could stage a Gold Coast raid after Titans coach Justin Holbrook revealed Brisbane coach Kevin Walters had been in secret talks with Fifita last week.

But the Titans have held back Big Brother Brisbane, with Fifita confirming the new deal that will see him stay in the Gold Coast until the end of 2026.

“I am very excited to announce that I will be a Titan for a few more years,” Fifita said on his social media account.

“Grateful for the club for supporting me and giving me the opportunity to stay here with the Titans and do what I love.

“Thanks to my family and friends for always being there for me through the ups and downs.

“Forever grateful.”

Fifita’s renewal is believed to be worth around $800,000 annually, downgrading the three-year, $3.2 million deal that saw him sensationally leave the Broncos for a new chapter on the Gold Coast.

With the intense pressure on Fifita to succeed as the Titans’ $1 million man, the pay cut could be the perfect pressure valve to help the 250-pound wrecking ball recapture its blockbuster best at Parkwood.

The Titans had some nervous moments. They were hoping to announce Fifita’s whereabouts before the first round, but that timeframe was delayed as the Broncos entered the race as shock contenders for next season after losing Farnworth and Flegler.

Speculations were rife. Fifita was unsettled at the Titans – he was benched and even briefly moved to center last season – fueling belief he could consider a homecoming from Red Hill.

But Justin Holbrook has always been pretty certain Fifita would stay with the Titans, who see the 23-year-old and his good pal Tino Fa’asuamaleaui as keyboards in their quest for a turning point in the Premier League over the next decade.

Holbrook acknowledged Fifita’s loyalty.

“David’s commitment to the Titans shows that he believes in what we are building and it gives us great confidence as a club,” said Holbrook.

“As a coach I’ve seen David’s commitment first hand and that started weeks ago as he was preparing for this season and working hard to be fit to do his best.

“We saw that in our first round win over the Tigers with the work that David put in to bring the full performance.

“We have a core group of young people dedicated to making our community proud here on the coast and David is a big part of that.

“I’m delighted that David has decided to become a titan long-term and I look forward to working with him as we all seek to bring success to our region in the years to come.”

The Keebra Park product has played 85 NRL games and was outstanding in the Titans’ 10-22 win over the Wests Tigers on Sunday.

The Broncos, reluctant to enter a bidding war, now have a handy war chest in the salary cap and will use those funds to target a center forward to fill the Flegler void.

Fifita’s decision has consequences for his partner Shaylee Bent, one of the game’s elite players.

Bent had delayed making a decision about their future in talks with the Titans and Raiders while waiting for Fifita to have more clarity on his 2024 goal.

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart also caught up with Fifita’s mum Gwen while he was vacationing on the Gold Coast over the Christmas period.

But when Bent ruled out a move to Canberra last week, it was a stark sign that Fifita had narrowed it down to a two-horse race between the Titans and the Broncos, with whom he played 44 games after making his NRL debut in 2018 denied.

The Raiders are now expected to turn their attention to other goals to strengthen their backline for next season. Cronulla’s second rower Teig Wilton and Manly youngster Samuela Fainu are believed to be on their radar, while another option is Sea Eagles hulk Haumole Olakau’atu, who has two years left on contract but is already in the sights of opposing clubs .

Despite criticism of his price tag, Fifita has the potential to be the best forward in the code.

The Tongan Test tearaway scored 17 goals in his debut season with the Titans in 2021, breaking the club’s all-season try-scoring record before struggling for form last year as the Coast bowed out of the Finals.

But the Titans hope the new deal will be the stepping stone for Fifita to produce the best football of his career in the coming seasons.

Originally released when David Fifita signed a two-year, $1.6 million extension

https://www.codesports.com.au/nrl/david-fifita-signs-twoyear-16-million-extension/news-story/10ceb2a3b559ba767f75280bbbbac103?nk=d5c950123b268e0a078f635731c54580-1678105817 David Fifita signs a two-year, $1.6 million extension

Ryan Sederquist

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