How a year of soul-searching made David Fifita a fixture for Queensland



David Fifita could be the forgotten man on the Origin side of Queensland.

The Brisbane-born backrower looked like a fixed and forgotten choice for the next decade when he burst onto the scene in 2019, but regressed badly after joining the Titans and, this time last year, was playing on the bench , a million miles away from the Maroons team.

It caused some soul-searching for Fifita – and he responded by starting 2023 in career-best form for the Titans.

“I looked at myself well,” said the backrower after his team’s outset victory over Manly on Saturday night.

“Just my game, my off-pitch stuff. Stuff like that.”

“Everybody’s used to me doing all the long-range tries and stuff like that, but tonight was my first time crossing the white line. It seems crazy to me, but my improvement for me is just to keep training hard and doing what’s best for the team.

Fifita played like a man possessed against the Sea Eagles, scoring his first try of the year and providing an assist for his winger, Alofiana Khan-Pereira.

He picked the perfect time to get back to his best. The man who took his place, Jeremiah Nanai, suffered a dip in form in his second season in the NRL and is now banned until the day before Game 1 in Adelaide.

“That (Origin) is always my dream and my goal, to be there. For me, keep training and working hard. And if the opportunity comes, the opportunity comes. I know what I have to do. I have to keep working hard for the Titans.

Other second-line options have also missed important football this year, South Sydney’s Jai Arrow, who was injured, and Felise Kaufusi, who received a lengthy suspension.

“Everyone has their own opinion,” he said of his 2023 chances. “But I’m just trying to keep upping my game for myself, which is doing what’s best for me and my team mates keep training hard and doing the things away from the football i do and keep enjoying rugby league.

“With my position, there is great competition. With the boys who did it before me, they are the reference. But for me, I just have to keep improving every week and doing what is necessary for the team.

Fifita was injured and out of form last year, and admitted rushing after his injury to try to make the Maroons squad.

Now, fully fit and on fire, he must enter Billy Slater’s thoughts.

“I tried to rush, I did my meniscus against the Panthers and then I tried to rush against the Broncos at Suncorp,” he explained.

“I was underrated, I was just trying to rush to get back there. But really I didn’t deserve to be there. I just try to be better week after week for my teammates and for the boys. Try to improve every week and get the results needed for this team.


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