David Fifita's NRL pre-season has been thrown into turmoil after the Gold Coast Titans star suffered a pectoral injury that leaves him in doubt for the new season. In a major blow for new Titans coach Des Hasler, the rampaging forward sustained a partial tear of his pectoral at training on Monday, with a scan on Tuesday to determine the extent of damage.
The 23-year-old is set to undergo surgery on Wednesday after also undergoing a knee cleanout that saw him withdraw from Tonga's three-Test tour of England. Fifita had a strong season with the Titans in 2023 and earned himself a recall to Queensland's successful State of Origin side as a result.
Fifita - who alongside Maroons teammate and Kangaroos prop Tino Fa'asuamaleaui signed big-money extensions at the Titans in 2023 - had been in the rehab group since he returned to training. The destructive edge forward had done a minimal amount of field work.
Gold Coast are hoping Fifita will be fit for their round-one clash with St George Illawarra in 2024 as they open the season in front of their home fans. Respected social media account The NRL Physio confirmed that the usual recovery time after surgery on a torn pec injury like Fifita's is between 10 to 14 weeks, meaning he should be right for the round one clash on March 24.
Titans prop Jaimin Jolliffe sustained a similar injury prior to round two this year and returned in round 15. It remains to be seen whether Fifita will be ready to start the season with limited minutes under his belt in pre-season. The big second-rower had an outstanding season in 2023 when he made the Dally M team of the year and regained his Maroons jersey, playing in all three games of the 2-1 series win.
Unfortunate news from training 🩹https://t.co/aiOvNwiXj8
— Gold Coast Titans (@GCTitans) December 5, 2023
David Fifita will undergo surgery after suffering a partial pec tear at training this week. Whilst partial tear can have varied severity, surgery being required suggests repair procedure.
Usual recovery time of 10-14 weeks - with Round 1 in 13 weeks time good chance he is fit. pic.twitter.com/yRmjzdTPdX
— NRL PHYSIO (@nrlphysio) December 5, 2023
Dang poor bugger plenty of time to heal tho
— Jamie Smith (@Silenthorizen) December 5, 2023
Huge news out of the Gold Coast with the team confirming David Fifita has torn his pec muscle at training. We are still months away from round 1 but not what anyone wants to see. #NRL #supercoachnrl #supercoach #draft pic.twitter.com/tyvnDUTj7H
— The SC Halfback (@TheSCHalfback) December 5, 2023
Beau Fermor returns after missing all of 2023
In better news for Hasler's side, the Titans will welcome back Beau Fermor for the 2024 season after the edge forward ruptured an ACL in March and missed the entire season in 2023. The Titans have other options at edge forward if Fifita misses any games, including Payne Haas' younger brother Klese, who ended the previous season in strong form and is another NRL-ready option.
Meanwhile, Titans half Tanah Boyd is progressing well after shoulder surgery as he targets getting first crack at the No.7 jersey ahead of young gun Tom Weaver. "I'm starting to ramp back up and get more reps under my belt and do more with the group," Boyd said. "The shoulder is feeling strong again and I'll start doing some wrestle.
"I should be back to full training two weeks after Christmas. Weaves has been training well but I've got to come back in and show what I can do and do my job. I'll be pretty focused on playing halfback. That's what I did last year, and I want to keep getting better and take us to the finals."
Boyd praised the influence the Titans' new coach has already been having on his game, with Hasler also a talented halfback in his playing days. "From doing a little bit the other day, he's already picked up a few things with me," Boyd said of Hasler.
"That's the good thing, he lets you know straight away. I can't wait to learn off him. He's been around for a very long time and seen it all. His coaching and guidance gives you so much confidence. I know everyone is learning so much. It's only going to make us play better."
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