Fifita backflips on Roosters to stay at Titans

In a stunning backflip, Gold Coast forward David Fifita has turned his back on Sydney Roosters and taken up his two-year option to stay at the Titans for family reasons and to continue his career under coach Des Hasler.

Just last week the 24-year-old informed the Roosters he would take up their four-year deal but has since changed his mind.

The Tricolours have withdrawn their offer and Fifita has activated a two-year option in his favour, which will keep him at the club until the end of 2026.

Titans CEO Steve Mitchell fronted the press on Wednesday to explain Fifita’s decision.

He revealed the club had not renegotiated a new upgraded offer to their star forward, but added that having options in contracts was "a distraction and something from a best practice point of view you want to move out of".

"We didn’t want to change the contract. We just wanted to move on and keep the relationship as it was," Mitchell said.

When asked why Fifita backflipped, Mitchell said he had done a lot of thinking in the past week about his priorities.

"These guys have to make big decisions about a short career span," Mitchell said.

"The week gave Dave a chance to actually process where he’ll be and what that means.

"His family is critical to him and that’s a really big part of it.

"His mum and grandmother come to the games and his family engage with all our club events."

Fifita has 'Mum and Dad' written on his wrist each week and when he scores he shows his wrist to the cameras.

Mitchell said that Fifita’s decision was also an endorsement of Hasler and what he had achieved with the side in the past six weeks.

David Fifita.
David Fifita takes the ball up during the Titans' last-out win over the Cowboys.

"Des is excited. This is a critical endorsement of Des’s leadership, in what we are doing and what we are going to become," he said.

Fifita has not spoken to the media this season but Mitchell said he would in the coming weeks.

"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 Titans media 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."

The Roosters also put out a statement on the Fifita decision.

"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."

Fifita’s partner Shaylee Bent plays with the Titans in the NRLW and Mitchell said they would now endeavour to re-sign her until the end of 2026.

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