‘Big boost’: Brisbane torn by lost star’s return
Brisbane face the agonising decision on when to play boom backrower David Fifita after being haunted by the misfiring gamble that may have influenced his departure from the club.
The 20-year-old trained with the starting 17 for the first time since undergoing knee surgery earlier this year, during Brisbane's Monday morning session at Red Hill which also saw Darius Boyd training at fullback in place of Anthony Milford.
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Fresh from having inked a three-year deal with the Titans, Fifita is likely to be named in Brisbane's extended squad on Tuesday ahead of their Friday night clash with Cronulla.
It does come with the risk though of throwing the youngster straight back into the rigours of the NRL without having played a rugby league game since March.
The Broncos rolled the dice back in Round 2 on playing their strike weapon despite being under an injury cloud, which failed to pay off and forced Fifita to undergo knee surgery in the aftermath of the match.
The four-month lay-off reportedly left a bad taste in Fifita's mouth but he was all smiles at training on Monday, as he trained alongside his teammates for the first time since March.
The Broncos are keen to squeeze every ounce of action out of the highly-regarded backrower before he moves to the Titans next year.
Brisbane's wrecking ball Tevita Pangai Jr said the inclusion of Fifita this weekend would be a huge boost for the struggling playing group, who are motivated to send him off in the best possible fashion.
"He's a big boost," Pangai Jr said.
"He's a powerful runner and one of the best ball runners in the game right now.
"Obviously disappointed (to lose him next year) but I'm really happy for David.
"It's a big opportunity for him and his family.
"We're happy for him but he's a Bronco until October.
"We just want to send him out as best we can."
Meanwhile at the Titans, the club's big men are facing the reality that Fifita's emergence next year will squeeze some of them out of the side.
Gold Coast prop forward Jarrod Wallace welcomed the signing of Fifita but was wary of what it will mean for the club's current forward pack.
"He's a huge signing for the club," Wallace said.
"He brings a lot of energy, a lot of talent and he's already played Origin at such a young age so he brings a little bit of that experience too.
"That's going to bring a lot of strike on our edge.
"It's exciting but it obviously puts our big guys on notice.
"It shows you can never be comfortable in the NRL or any club and if you're not performing, there's guys who are always going to be pushing for your spot."
And a former club great has warned there may still be more signings to come.
Former Titans football manager Scott Sattler, who played for two previous incarnations of Gold Coast teams, believes Fifita's signing is a major step forward but the Titans must now find a new captain.
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"Fifita is a good signing but my real concern for them is that they have not signed a leader,'' Sattler said.
"That has to be the next priority. They have got all the cowboys, now they just need a sheriff. Fifita is terrific talent but he does not bring that leadership factor at the moment.
"Someone like (Roosters) Jake Friend would be a great signing for them. He has been through the hard times as well but the way he has led the Roosters with Boyd Cordner and played under one of the greatest coaches we may see in the game (Trent Robinson) I think he would just bring so much.''
Originally published as 'Big boost': Brisbane torn by lost star's return