Fifita backflip fallout hits key Rooster

NRL Rd 10 -  Titans v Cowboys
David Fifita is staying put. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Gold Coast Titans star David Fifita has had a shock change of heart and will stay at the club, backflipping on his decision to sign a four-year deal with the Sydney Roosters.

The Titans confirmed on Wednesday morning that Fifita would now take up the option on his contract that keeps him on the Gold Coast until 2026.

“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.

“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.”

The Roosters then confirmed they had withdrawn their offer to Fifita.

“Despite his management making the initial approach to the club and Fifita personally informing the Sydney Roosters’ chairman and head coach of his intent to join the club last Thursday, Fifita has since expressed doubt about his decision,” a club statement said.

“Consequently, the club has elected to withdraw its offer with view that it is in the Roosters’ best interests. The club wishes Fifita all the best.”

Fifita, who had the option to leave the Titans with two years left on his deal, had weighed up offers from Penrith and the Roosters, having originally confirmed he wanted out of the Gold Coast.

It’s unclear what caused the change of mind, with Titans chief executive Steve Mitchell to address the media on the Gold Coast on Wednesday.

The Roosters will now ramp up their offer to keep Angus Crichton. Picture: NRL Photos/Gregg Porteous
The Roosters will now ramp up their offer to keep Angus Crichton. Picture: NRL Photos/Gregg Porteous

Fifita’s decision frees up the cash for the Roosters to re-sign star edge forward Angus Crichton, who made it clear he didn’t want to play second fiddle to anyone and that no one at the club had reached out to him about a potential new deal.

Roosters players were surprisingly cagey when asked about Fifita’s impending arrival on Tuesday afternoon, with Dom Young, Terrell May and Victor Radley offering up short responses.

“We’ll deal with that next year. We’ve got to win this year first,” Radley said.

The Tricolours will now shift their focus to re-signing Crichton, who is in the mix for a State of Origin recall after a stunning return to form after he started the year in the NSW Cup.

“I love Angus, he’s kind of the benchmark back-rower this season, especially this last month. You obviously want to keep him. That’s up to the club and Angus to deal with,” Radley said.

“For the meantime, I just want to see him be his best, which he’s been doing.

“I just want to play footy with him. He’s an absolute weapon. I don’t think we should start talking about (him leaving). Let him deal with his future and that’s it.”