Gold Coast have landed one of the biggest signatures in their history by signing Queensland Origin star David Fifita on a three-year NRL deal from 2021.
The Titans have poached the 20-year-old from local rivals Brisbane on a deal believed to be worth $3.5 million following months of deliberation from Fifita.
Titans head of culture Mal Meninga played a huge role in luring Fifita south from the state capital, saying the club will only move forward with players who want to bring success to the region.
“It’s a great signing for the club. With all humility and respect I think the Fifita family has handled it really well,” Meninga told Fox Sports.
“What a great acquisition for the club moving forward.
“We won’t stand still though. We’ve got the people at the club who want to see a successful outfit. It’s taken a while but I think we’re on our way.”
It is understood Fifita informed his Broncos teammates of his decision on Saturday morning just hours after their 46-8 loss to Melbourne.
The loss of Fifita will come as a huge blow for the Broncos who have been negotiating with the young forward since before he came on the market in November last year.
However, they could not compete with the deal on offer from the Titans.
Broncos chief executive Paul White said the club had numerous meetings with Fifita to try and finalise a deal but would not offer more money than was “responsible for the good of the club and the playing list”.
“There has been significant interest in David from a number of other NRL clubs and a range of sizeable contract offers for David to consider,” White said.
“We have been in ongoing discussions, across more than 20 meetings, as we sought to find a way to keep David at the Broncos, where he has played some fantastic football in recent years.
“At the end of the day it was a really tough decision for a young man to make and we respect the choice that David has made.
“It’s disappointing to see David depart but we look forward to him returning to the field to finish out the season with the Broncos.”
One of the most devestating forwards in the sport, Fifita has played just 37 NRL games and only two this season as he recovers from a knee injury suffered in round two.
His addition to the Gold Coast team will seriously bolster the Titans’ pack for 2021, joining fellow recruit Herman Ese’ese, Kevin Proctor, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and Moeaki Fotuaika.
Fifita’s signing is a huge coup for new coach Justin Holbrook in his first season at the club.
“As a coach we want to bring players to our club to improve the squad, and David will definitely do that,” Holbrook said.
“David already has a close connection with our club through some of our players, which is an important element that I am looking for as we build this team.”