David Fifita in bombshell exit claim amid Gold Coast Titans' 'embarrassing' NRL start

The Titans enforcer has until round 10 to inform the Titans whether or not he will remain at the club beyond this season.

David Fifita has been tipped to sensationally quit the Titans as NRL rivals weigh up a move for the highly-regarded prop. Gold Coast have suffered humiliating defeats at the hands of the Bulldogs and Dragons to start the season, and their woes have been compounded by the season-ending knee injury to captain Tino Fa’asuamaleaui.

To make matters worse, they now face the real possibility that Fifita could be headed out the door. The 24-year-old can effectively make himself a free agent due to a get-out clause in his current contract and it is understood that there are growing fears at the Gold Coast that Fifita will do just that.

Pictured David Fifita
David Fifita has been tipped to quit the Titans after the side's horror start to the 2023 season. Image: Getty

The star prop had it written into his previous Titans contract that he could become a free agent if Justin Holbrook was sacked. However, after Holbrook was removed from his post and Des Hasler took over, he signed a new three-year deal worth a reported $1 million a season.

But that deal had player options for 2025 and 2026, meaning if Fifita so chooses he can activate the clause in his contract before round 10 and become a free agent. The 24-year-old is one of the most damaging forwards in the NRL and has a knack for finding the try line like few others, so he is sure to attract plenty of attention from rival clubs if he enters the open market.

Dave Riccio told NRL 360 that the Titans are in limbo waiting to see if he will exercise the clause. "The biggest concern for me is... David Fifita has a Round 10 trigger clause in his contract, of which he can trigger to leave the club," Riccio said. And Brent Read believes he will do just that and says Canberra are the front-runner for his services.

"Canberra tried to get him once before,” Read said. "The issue they’ve got is he’s got to Round 10. Two weeks ago, I would have said he’s staying. The mail I got, he was staying. After the way they’ve played, I’m worried now, Dave might go.

"And the issue is he doesn’t have to tell them until Round 10, which means they can’t go out and use that money. They’ve got to wait for Dave to make a decision because they’ve got to keep the money in case Dave says to them at Round 10 I am staying."

David Fifita to make his NRL return after 'embarrassing' start to 2024 season

Fifita hasn't played a game yet in 2024 after being sidelined with a pectoral injury but has been named on the Titans' extended bench for round four. With Fa'asuamaleaui out, Fifita is seen as a crucial leader in their forward pack. Hooker Sam Verrills didn't sugarcoat the magnitude of the loss of their captain, labelling it "devastating" but says Fifita's nearing return is a huge boost for the team.

"When you lose a player like Tino; your captain, leader probably your best player in the team it's pretty devastating," he said. "We have to turn it around, there's no other way around it ... it's been pretty embarrassing. Playing footy like that, it's unacceptable. The reviews have been tough but what we need."


Jayden Campbell returns from injury against the Dolphins

Jayden Campbell will make his return from a long-term injury for the Gold Coast this weekend in a much-needed boost to the languishing Titians. The livewire fullback's return to the side has provided some cause for optimism at Parkwood.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JULY 30: Jayden Campbell of the Titans celebrates a try during the round 22 NRL match between Gold Coast Titans and North Queensland Cowboys at Cbus Super Stadium on July 30, 2023 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Jayden Campbell celebrates a try during the round 22, 2023 NRL match between Gold Coast Titans and North Queensland Cowboys. (Chris Hyde via Getty Images)

He'll play NRL for the first time since dislocating his patella six months ago and Verrills didn't understate his value to the side. "He's such a good player. We've missed him," Verrills said of Campbell.

"His IQ on footy is one of the greatest; he's screaming, very vocal and what we need at the moment. He's elusive, takes on the short sides, has got that tough carry in him. I can't wait to get him back."

with AAP