Broncos v Cowboys: Five factors that will decide Fifita’s fate
David Fifita walked into Broncos training last Thursday with steam coming out of his ears.
Fifita, stressed and confused, wanted answers. He wanted to know how the media discovered he told Anthony Seibold he was quitting the Broncos to join the Titans, only to backflip. It was serious, private dialogue that, in Fifita's mind, should never have reached the public domain.
Since then, Broncos management have not heard a peep from Fifita in almost a week.
The silence is deafening. The Broncos are suddenly on edge about what Fifita is feeling, thinking and planning.
Either it is a sign Fifita is taking a breath to cool his head before committing to Brisbane, or drumming up the courage to drop a bombshell on the Broncos by advising them he is signing a life-changing $1.25 million deal with the Titans.
Whichever way he jumps, here are five key factors Fifita must consider:
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IS Brisbane's Anthony Seibold or the Titans' Justin Holbrook the right coach to advance Fifita's career?
For all the hype, it is easy to forget Fifita, at 20, has played only 37 first grade games.
It is interesting to note the contrasting views on Seibold as a coach. Some players praise his organisation and fastidious attention to detail. Others say he is too tactical and complex.
Holbrook, however, seems to be feted by his players.
At Holbrook's former club St Helens, Lachlan Coote, who won a premiership at the Cowboys under Paul Green, rated him the best coach he had ever worked with.
Despite the Titans' hardships this year, Gold Coast players are united to a man on Holbrook's coaching ability.
IT'S easy for many to say money doesn't buy happiness but when you crunch the numbers, the financial differential for Fifita is enormous - and rather irresistible.
The Broncos have tabled a one-year deal at $700,000. NRL players are paid monthly. At that rate, Fifita would earn a gross amount of $58,333 per month next season if he stays loyal to the Broncos.
After tax, his monthly take-home pay would be $33,156, or $7651 per week.
If he opts for the Titans' $1.25 million offer, Fifita would earn a gross amount of $104,166 per month in 2021.
After tax, his take-home monthly wage would be $57,444, or $13,256 per week.
In net terms, Fifita will pocket $397,872 at the Broncos next year. At the Titans, he would take home $689,328.
That's an after-tax differential of $291,456 for the financial year. Ask any person in the street today if they would sacrifice almost $300,000 for doing the same job?
IF Fifita was to walk away from the Titans' big bucks, what level of compensation do you apply to a quality roster?
As it stands, the Broncos have a superior roster to the Titans. The problem is Brisbane's squad are underachieving.
But you get the feeling if Seibold can harness their potential, Fifita will be the jewel in the crown of a Broncos roster that can win premierships.
Gold Coast's backline is average but Fifita's immediate focus should be his forward cohorts and the Titans are building nicely up front.
Mo Fotuaika is a brilliant young prop, Herman Ese'ese has been signed from the Knights and Storm recruit Tino Fa'asuamaleaui is a good friend of Fifita's.
But Fifita's closest footballing mate is Payne Haas and they can be Brisbane's forward pillars for a decade.
IF he chases the cash, Fifita is on a hiding to nothing at the Titans. Ask Anthony Milford, Ben Hunt or Ash Taylor about the searing pressures imposed by a $1 million contract.
If he takes the Titans deal, Fifita must commit to Johnathan Thurston-style, matchwinning displays every week.
The minute he has a month of mediocre form, he will be panned as the Titans' million-dollar dud. At the Broncos, the lesser pay will be a glorious pressure valve. It is a fine line in the NRL between being the underpaid hero … or the overpaid zero.
FIFITA can pull off a public relations masterstroke.
If he accepts Brisbane's deal, he is trumpeted as a loyal kid who gave up squillions to play for his beloved Broncos.
The fans will adore him and when his next big payday comes at Red Hill - which it will - his honourable sacrifice will never be forgotten.
Equally, Fifita may decide to follow the lead of Kalyn Ponga, who signed a $3 million deal with the lowly Knights, and back himself to lead a rebuild of the embattled Titans.
Originally published as Broncos v Cowboys: Five factors that will decide Fifita's fate