Fifita has point to prove after Origin snub: Titans CEO

Joel Gould |

Gold Coast CEO Steve Mitchell says second-rower David Fifita will have “a real point to prove” over the coming weeks after being dropped from the Queensland side.

Fifita, who played all three State of Origin games last year and was man of the match in the Titans’ 36-34 win over Brisbane on Sunday, lost his spot in the Maroons’ 17 for the series opener on June 5 in Sydney. 

Titans coach Des Hasler expected both prop Moeaki Fotuaika and Fifita would be called into camp on Monday. On Sunday night the club was informed it was just Fotuaika.

“I think he has a real point to prove over the coming rounds. We are really excited about the footy David can play and at the moment he is coming into some fabulous form,” Mitchell told AAP.

“Dave has been playing great footy and we were probably a little surprised (at his omission) but that’s Origin. We know what (Maroons coach) Billy Slater’s coaching record is, which is phenomenal for the state.

“David has goals and he is going to work on them. If this sets another milestone in his mind then we are going to see a very motivated David Fifita, which is great for Queensland and great for the Titans.” 

That will be music to Slater’s ears, who said Fifita would be back in the Origin arena, while also explaining his decision.

“Dave created a really high standard for himself last year. He just hasn’t quite got to that standard this year,” Slater said.

“I spoke to Dave (on Sunday night) and he has taken the disappointing news like a true Queenslander and wishes the best for the footy team.

“He also reiterated that in a text message after our chat so I have no doubt that Dave will get back to the footy that he played last year.

“I’m sure he will wear a Maroon jersey in the future again.”

The Maroons have regular starting club back-rowers Jaydn Su’A and Jeremiah Nanai in the run-on side. Two other second-rowers – the Dolphins’ Felise Kaufusi and Brisbane’s Brendan Piakura – are on the extended bench. 

Statistics aren’t the be all and end all of a player’s worth but on key metrics Fifita – in comparison to the other four – is number one this season for average run metres (151m), tackle breaks (51) and line breaks plus line break assists (13).

“I think Dave’s application to training and his on-field efforts, particularly over the last six weeks, have been really good,” Mitchell said.

Titans assistant coach Jim Lenihan agreed.

“I was surprised they left him out,” Lenihan told AAP.

“He has been going really well the last month and could have well and truly got a spot on the bench with a great impact role.

“As you would expect, Dave will be disappointed, but we have South Sydney after the bye and I am sure he will be looking to prove a point.”