The Battle For David Fifita

Cronulla - David FifitaBy STEVE MASCORD

MELBOURNE and Cronulla are locked in a dogfight over the signature of NSW prop Andrew Fifita’s twin brother, with the Storm regarded as favourites to snare the giant.

David Fifita, who has just finished a season with French club Lezignan, was feted by both clubs when they met at AAMI Park on Sunday night and yesterday (Tuesday) fielded a formal offer from the world champions (NB: Melbourne subsequently delayed the offer).

Rugby League Week can reveal Storm coach Craig Bellamy and football manager Frank Ponissi met Fifita over coffee just hours before the 38-6 win over the Sharks.

“Yes, we’re interested – there’re two of us chasing him, us and Cronulla,” Ponissi tells RLW.

“We’re taking a bit of a punt on him because we don’t know a lot about him but we back ourselves when it comes to props and getting the best out of them.

“We believe we’ve got a good track record in that area. Jason Ryles is retiring at the end of the season and we have some spots open.

“Obviously we’d be replacing him with size – not experience – if we signed David but we think we can do something with him.

“Craig was really impressed with his attitude and he was really keen. So we’ll put the offer together and go from there.”

Cronulla chief executive Steve Noyce confirmed the Sharks were also interested. “David has come down to see his brother play but I think Melbourne are also keen so he’s having a chat to them,” Noyce said.

“We’re keen on having him.”

Fifita’s Lezignan got to the semi-final stage of the French Elite One championship before being eliminated by St Esteve. With the French season played in the northern winter, a number of players have returned to Australia looking for a start.

David  told the website frenchfooty.com.au he and the Blues star are “best of friends. We have the same group of friends, same everything.

“He got upset when I was coming over here, but I’m doing it for my family. It was a good opportunity for a holiday and to see the world.”

NB: Since this story appeared, there have been unconfirmed reports David Fifita has signed with Cronulla.

Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK

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