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Fifita turns his back on Roosters deal to stay on the Gold Coast

Andrew Mathieson -

David Fifita has sensationally gone cold about signing a brand new deal with Sydney Roosters overnight, turning his back on the ambitious club to remain on the Gold Coast until at least the end of the 2026 NRL season.

The 24-year-old’s management contacted the Bondi club on Tuesday night after the Torres Strait Islander began to express doubts about moving away from his nearby extended family.

By the end of a phone conversation with club chairman Nick Politis, the Roosters immediately withdrew their generous offer of $3.3 million over four years from 2025.

Under the NRL contracting rules, Fifita had 10 days to change his mind in a cooling off period after initially agreeing to terms from the Roosters’ offer. 

Fifita only a week earlier had told the Titans that he going to exercise a clause in his contract to bypass the final two years of a four-year deal.

“I’m extremely grateful for the time and interest shown in me over the past two weeks,” Fifita said in a statement on Wednesday morning.

“But upon further reflection, I have made the decision that I want to remain a Titan beyond 2024.”

The shrewd move is similar to what Daly Cherry-Evans did to the Gold Coast almost a decade ago, reneging on a handshake deal days later to forever remain at Manly.

Gold Coast, also in a statement on Wednesday morning, confirmed the previous contract that the barnstorming forward rejected still remained on the table and the Titans’ two-year extension would stand.

He will become a free agent again from November 1 next year, but the Titans appears back in a position to secure the backrower for good according to the club’s future plans.

Fifita’s management on the player’s request had contacted the Roosters after earlier also approaching Penrith to switch clubs.

The frustrated Roosters confirmed that the club never attempted to lure Fifita in their own statement. 

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

“Consequently, the club has elected to withdraw its offer with (the) view that it is in the Roosters’ best interests.”

The consequences from Fifita’s latest decision appears certain to influence his NRLW-playing partner, Shaylee Bent, who was set to follow and leave the Titans too at the end of season for the Roosters.

The machinations behind Fifita backing out of his agreement with the Roosters will all but ensure the club will commit to re-sign Angus Crichton, who had publicly and vocally hit out at the glamour club during the week for signing his potential new teammate.

Crichton was worried about the cost of bringing a player into Sydney for an already stacked backrow that could force his club of the past six seasons to either offer a reduced-contract at the end of this year or be passed over to another NRL club.

The Roosters have lost out on two Torres Strait Islander signatures after another, Dane Gagai, decided to re-sign with Newcastle despite talks progressing with the rival club.

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