Titans predict smooth Fifita transition

Laine Clark
Broncos' David Fifita has signed a three-year deal with Gold Coast from 2021

Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook has baulked when asked whether David Fifita's signing will lure more stars to the NRL battlers but says the blockbusting backrower is someone "players want to play with".

A frustrating 22-14 loss to Penrith on Sunday couldn't dampen Holbrook's excitement over snaring Brisbane star Fifita, who ended a long contract saga by signing a three year deal from 2021 reportedly worth $3.5 million.

"We all know what a great player he is," he said.

Fifita's 2021 arrival appears to have set off a domino effect at Gold Coast with Bryce Cartwright looking to leave the club citing personal reasons with Shannon Boyd set to quit and sidelined captain Ryan James reportedly bound for Canberra.

But Holbrook wouldn't bite when asked if he hoped Fifita's signature would entice more stars to the tourist strip.

"Possibly, it's not for me to worry about now - that's next year. He's got the rest of the year for the Broncos," he said.

But Holbrook added: "He's the type of player other players want to play with."

Former great Peter Sterling questioned whether Fifita - who has played 37 NRL games - was worth the massive pay cheque and claimed the pressure would be on the back-rower to live up to his hefty price tag in 2021.

"He's unproven. We can see the talent there but he has played very little NRL," he told Nine Network.

"With the club like the Gold Coast..when you are an unattractive place to go because you are not having success you have to pay overs.

"You've just got to hope your assessment is astute and you are eventually going to get value for money.

"If I am another player will his presence at the Titans make it more attractive as a place to go, it probably will.

"Only time will tell - now he has to live up to that price tag."

But Holbrook predicted a smooth transition at Gold Coast for Fifita, who is close mates with current Titans Moeaki Fotuaika, AJ Brimson, Tanah Boyd and 2021 recruit, damaging Melbourne forward Tino Fa'asuamaleaui.

Fifita also attended Gold Coast's Keebra Park High School where he was captain of the National Championship-winning side in 2017.

"Why I am so excited is that he has some connections with our club. He's played with some of the players and with some of the guys we have signed he has relationships with them," Holbrook said.

"He knows enough about the club and enough about me. He's ticked all the boxes and I am just excited that he is with us next year."