Andrew Fifita

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Andrew Fifita
Andrew Fifita.jpg
Personal information
Born (1989-06-28) 28 June 1989 (age 25)
Blacktown, New South Wales, Australia
Height 194 cm (6 ft 4 in)
Weight 114 kg (17 st 13 lb)
Playing information
Position Prop, Second-row
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2010–11 Wests Tigers 39 8 0 0 32
2012– Cronulla-Sutherland 54 14 0 0 56
Total 93 22 0 0 88
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2010 Tonga 1 0 0 0 0
2012 Indigenous All Stars 1 0 0 0 0
2013 City Origin 1 0 0 0 0
2013 New South Wales 3 0 0 0 0
2013 Australia 6 2 0 0 8
Source: RLP League Central

Andrew Fifita (born 28 June 1989), is an Australian professional rugby league footballer for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks of the National Rugby League. A New South Wales State of Origin and Australian international representative as forward, he previously played for the Wests Tigers. Fifita is known for his tackle-breaks, strong fend and his step.[1] Andrew Fifita's twin brother, David Fifita also plays for Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks as a Prop.

Early years[edit]

Born in Blacktown, New South Wales[2] Fifita began playing rugby league with twin brother David in the Penrith junior rugby league system before moving to Griffith, New South Wales. He attended Patrician Brothers' College Blacktown and Wyndham College. He played junior football for the Doonside Roos, St Patricks Blacktown and the Griffith Waratahs.[3] His twin brother David also played lower-grade for the Tigers and is currently with Andrew's club, the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. Fifita is not related to John Fifita, a former St George Dragons player.[4]

As a teenager, Fifita had trialled with the Sydney Roosters and the North Sydney Bears, but was considered lightweight, even though he was playing as a winger or centre at the time. Fifita said he, "tried eating and all that stuff but it didn't work and then one day I just blew out. It wasn't until I was 17 or 18 that I put the size on. Maybe it was the grog, I don't know. I was seriously pushing to get to 80kg back then. I think I was about 70kg."[5]

Playing career[edit]

Wests Tigers[edit]

Fifita made his first grade debut for the Wests Tigers against Sydney Roosters, coming off the bench and scoring a try in the match.[6] It was the first of 22 appearances for the 2010 season. He made his international debut for Tonga at the end of the season. Although defeated 22-6, Fifita said, "It was a good experience, it’s not about the loss here, it’s about the experience and about looking forward to the future for the World cup and the years ahead."[7]

At the start of the 2011 season, Fifita was chosen to participate in a New South Wales rugby league team developmental squad.[8] In the off-season he had dropped about 10 kilos to be playing at about 109 kg.[1] He was also named in the Indigenous All Stars team.

Fifita started the season at prop, but was dropped from first grade by Tim Sheens after round 17 and never returned. "I was always saying, 'Let me play, let me play,'" Fifita said. "But he just said go to NSW Cup. I was pulling 80 minutes each game there, what can you do? You're up against the coach. You can't say anything. At the end I had kind of given up. I thought there was no more first grade for me."[9]

Fifita signed a three year contract in 2011, to join the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks from 2012. He was released from the Wests Tigers, along with Bryce Gibbs, so the club could accommodate Adam Blair under the salary cap.[10]

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks[edit]

With the Sharks starting 2012 well, and with his old club struggling to win early games, Fifita commented, "We have an unbelievable bond. We're so tight. Compared to the Tigers everyone is so tight. We have the same dressing rooms. It's just more of a friendship. We're all just brothers and it's no split groups, no nothing, it's who we are."[11]

Fifita proved to be a revelation for the Sharks in the 2013 NRL season and was rewarded with selection on the bench for New South Wales in the 2013 State of Origin series. Despite NSW losing the series 2-1 to Queensland, Fifita drew rave reviews for his powerhouse performances in the series.

After continuing his good form for the Sharks and helping them to a 5th place finish, Andrew Fifita was selected as the 2013 Dally M Prop of the year and was chosen in the 24 man Australian squad for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

Fifita scored the final try of Australia's 64–0 semi final victory over Fiji at Wembley stadium, the last try ever described by BBC rugby league commentator Ray French.

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs[edit]

In early 2014 Fifita signed a four-year contract of more than $800,000 a season to play with the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs. [12] On 31 March 2014, Fifita's contract with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs was terminated. A statement from the Bulldogs stated that they had advised Fifita’s management that he would not be playing for the club “given the final terms of the NRL Playing Contract could not be agreed.”[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Christian Nicolussi (20 April 2011). "Fifita puts hand up for Tigers". Daily Telegraph (Sydney). Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  2. ^ Barrett, Chris (22 October 2010). "Brotherly shove: Fifita double act ready to give opponents trouble". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  3. ^ "Player profile - Andrew Fifita". weststigers.com.au. Retrieved 4 April 2010. 
  4. ^ "Greenberg keen to sign Graham to long-term deal". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  5. ^ James Phelps (25 September 2010). "'Skinny' Andrew Fifita fits bill in a big way". Daily Telegraph (Sydney). Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  6. ^ http://www.weststigers.com.au/default.aspx?s=article-display&id=23641
  7. ^ "Samoa rally to beat Tonga". Roar. 25 October 2010. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "Stuart names 'Blues in waiting'". ABC. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  9. ^ Michael Chammas (10 February 2012). "Regrets, Taufua and Fifita say they have a few". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  10. ^ "Sharks take the bait and sign Tigers' big boppers". WA Today. 15 June 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2011. 
  11. ^ "Struggling Tigers a split group, says discard Fifita". The Australian. 10 April 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  12. ^ http://www.foxsports.com.au/nrl/nrl-premiership/cronullas-andrew-fifita-to-stay-in-nrl-as-bulldogs-lead-the-race-to-sign-the-prop/story-e6frf3uc-1226849075272.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/canterbury-bulldogs-backflip-on-multimillion-dollar-deal-bringing-andrew-fifita-to-the-club/story-fni3g67w-1226869916996. Retrieved 31 March 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]