David Fifita in stunning Roosters backflip amid telling Angus Crichton development

Fifita has backflipped on his decision to leave the Titans, activating his player option at the club for two more seasons.

David Fifita has shocked the NRL world by backflipping on his decision to leave the Titans at the end of the season. Last week Fifita agreed to join the Roosters from next season, signing a four-year deal worth around $3.3million and turning down a rival offer from Penrith in the process.

However, the highly sought-after star has since had second thoughts and dropped a bomb on the Tricolours by pulling the pin on the deal during his ten-day cooling-off period. As part of the NRL's new transfer regulations brought in last November, clubs are given ten days to attempt to persuade their players to stay. This was introduced to assist clubs in retaining talent.

Pictured left David Fifita and right Angus Crichton
David Fifita has backflipped on his decision to join the Roosters at the end of the season. Image: Getty

And on Tuesday the Maroons edge forward told the Titans he wants to remain with the club after a late-night phone call with the Roosters, where he discussed his hesitation in joining the club. Following that discussion, the Tricolours withdrew their offer and Fifita and he activated a two-year option at the Titans, keeping him at the club until at least the end of 2026.

Fifita said in the statement released by the Titans that his family had helped him come to the realisation that his future lies on the Gold Coast. "I'm extremely grateful for the time and interest shown in me over the past two weeks, but upon further reflection, I have made the decision that I want to remain a Titan beyond 2024," Fifita said in a statement. "I'm excited about the direction the team is taking and being close to home, and my family has been central to helping me make this decision."

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 20: David Fifita of the Titans celebrates a try during the round seven NRL match between Gold Coast Titans and Manly Sea Eagles at Cbus Super Stadium, on April 20, 2024, in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
David Fifita says his family helped him realise that his future is on the Gold Coast.

The Roosters announced on Wednesday morning that they had formally withdrawn their interest in the player. "Despite his management making the initial approach to the club and Fifita personally informing the Sydney Roosters' chairman (Nick Politis) and head coach (Trent Robinson) of his intent to join the club last Thursday, Fifita has since expressed doubt about his decision," the statement said. "The club has elected to withdraw its offer with the view that it is in the Roosters' best interests."

According to rugby league journalist Danny Weidler, Fifita gave the Roosters a phone call after 10pm on Tuesday to express that he was having second thoughts about joining the NRL powerhouse. And on Wednesday morning the Roosters tore up his contract offer.


News Corp reports Roosters supremo Nick Politis didn't take Fifita's uncertainty well. "It is hard to understand," Politis said.

"He approached us. And did the same with Penrith. After coming to Sydney to meet with Trent Robinson and the rest of the coaching staff, it’s hard to understand how he can display and create uncertainty. We’ve decided to withdraw our offer." The news stunned the NRL world, with many glad Fifita was remaining a Titan.

Fifita's anticipated move to the Roosters was expected to trigger a mass exit at the Roosters, who are stocked with back-row talent. The Tricolours have quality edge forwards on their books such as Sitili Tupouniua, Victor Radley and Nat Butcher - who are all signed until 2027 - as well as Angus Crichton.

In particular, clubs would have liked their chances of snaring Crichton away from the Bondi club had Fifita joined. Crichton, who plays on the left edge like Fifita has been arguably the NRL's best second-rower so far this season.

His resurgence in 2024 after taking time away from the game to deal with mental health issues last season has been incredible and has put him firmly into State of Origin contention for the Blues. The 28-year-old - who is off contract at the end of this season - said earlier this week that the signing of Fifita had blindsided him and he put rivals on alert when he declared he wouldn't be "sitting behind anyone".

"I don't want to be sitting behind anyone," Crichton said. "If there's an opportunity that makes sense (elsewhere), then I'll definitely look at it. I'm not going to rush it, especially with the Fifita stuff that's come out now. That's a good enough reason for me to take my time, and make smart decisions." His comments suggested that if Fifita was to join the club, he would seek pastures new. However, with Fifita's backflip, the door has again been opened up for Crichton to stay a Rooster.