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Fifita Switch Makes Plenty of Dollars, Little Sense

This week we saw two contrasting contract situations in the NRL; Cameron Smith, the Melbourne Storm, Queensland and Australian captain and the best player in our game elected to see out his career with the Storm, signing on for four more years. A great result for the Storm and the NRL that sees Smith finish his career as a one club player. Then Andrew Fifita, who had a break out season in 2013, signed with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs for four seasons, for a ridiculous amount, $3.4 million over four years. Is he worth $850,000 a season? No he isn’t. Are the Bulldogs trying to buy a premiership and thus end any pretence of being the family club? Yes they are.

Fifita has had one good season since making his debut for the Wests Tigers back in 2010. Last year he played for NSW and Australia and was one of the most damaging forwards in the NRL. He still isn’t worth the money the Bulldogs are throwing at him. They have Sam Kasiano, Tony Williams, Frank Pritchard, Aiden Tolman, James Graham, who has just re-signed for a further 4 seasons, Dale Finucane and David Klemmer on their books.

Remind you of something?

The Wests Tigers did the same thing in 2011 to allow Adam Blair to come on board and he has been rubbish ever since. At the Bulldogs, Fifita is just another big forward, lost amongst all their stars. At the Sharks he had the chance to become a leader as Paul Gallen winds down his career. He has taken the money, and he has every right to do so. But the smart move would be to stay at the Sharks and lead the them forward, rather than take the easy option of joining the Bulldogs.

If players are forced out of the Bulldogs they have every right to be upset at the club. Time will tell, but traditionally, players who switch clubs for big bucks rarely live up to the hype, think Blair, and Chris Sandow. Greg Inglis is an exception but he is so good he would be great at any club.

University of Wollongong alumni and aspiring journalist.

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