The NRL’s hottest talent has reportedly backflipped to remain with the Brisbane Broncos just hours after the club waved the white flag to accept his decision to walk out the door.
On a morning of high drama, Fifita is reported to have given Broncos officials a verbal guarantee that he intends to remain with the club beyond the 2020 season.
The reports of Fifita’s decision to remain with the struggling Broncos when his current deal expires in October came after Channel 9’s Danny Weidler reported the Broncos had privately accepted he had decided to take up a rich one-year deal with the Gold Coast Titans.
The injured forward has been the most sought-after talent in the game as he negotiates his next contract, reportedly also receiving rich offers from clubs in Sydney, including the Bulldogs, Rabbitohs and Roosters.
The Broncos had previously been confident of retaining the Queensland State of Origin star, despite reports conceding the club was aware it couldn’t a match mega-offer reportedly on the table from the Titans.
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That confidence was shaken this week with club officials believing they had lost their man.
But on Wednesday there was another dramatic twist with Fifita telling the Broncos privately that he won’t be going anywhere.
“David Fifita has called a leading Brisbane official in last hour to say he has had a change of heart,” Weidler posted on Twitter Wednesday morning.
“Broncos said he was gone last night. Fifita gave an official a verbal “I’m staying”. Again – no one will go on record. If true, quite the backflip. Stay tuned.”
It was reported last month the Titans had offered the 20-year-old a five-year, $5 million deal, but it has since been revealed Fifita will only sign a one-year contract for the 2021 season before he intends to sign a long-term deal in 2021.
According to The Australian, the Broncos are up to $500,000 short of the one-year deal offered by the Titans.
Weidler wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning the Broncos can’t match the Titans’ offer.
“View out of Broncos is THEY say David Fifita is gone,” Weidler wrote.
“Broncos (salary) cap needs cleaning up. Can’t and won’t match offer from Titans. No one on record. Asked manager Steve Deacon for confirmation: ‘No decision yet, but will be one soon’. Broncos negotiating tactic?”
Broncos legend Gorden Tallis said last month he hoped Fifita made the decision to move to the Titans to become the face of the club.
“I really hope so,” Tallis told Fox Sports when asked about the Titans connection.
“I think when you catch a big fish all the others come. I think when you’re on that boat other people want to come and join and maybe be part of it.
“They just need a marquee player.”
The Titans also beat the Broncos just a couple weeks ago as the Brisbane club continues to suffer through one of its greatest form slumps in the history of the proud club.
The Broncos’ on-field performances have given Fifita few incentives to remain with the club.
Fifita is expected to return from his knee injury in Round 10 and is expected to officially announce his decision well before he returns to the field for the Broncos.
Meanwhile, NRL great Laurie Daley says the Broncos officials need to be held accountable if they fail to hold onto the most exciting prospect in the game right now.
“If they lose David Fifita they’ve severely stuffed it up,” Daley said.
“He’s the most promising, the best forward of them all. They can’t lose him. You can lose some of the others but you can’t lose him.”
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