NRL 2021: Cronulla prop Andrew Fifita goes bush to get back into shape
NRL 2021: Cronulla prop Andrew Fifita goes bush to get back into shape

‘Fat mess’: Why Fifita went bush to get back in shape

Wearing a garbage bag under a thick jumper, Andrew Fifita went to work on shedding his huge frame down from what he unashamedly labelled a "fat mess."

"I was 137kg,'' Fifita said of his post-2020 season size.

"I jumped on the scales and I said, nah, this is unbelievable.

"I know when I've put on too much weight. I had spent the break travelling up the north coast, without eating proper food, just fast food.

 

"It was the week before we came back (to Sharks pre-season training) ... and I didn't want to show the boys I was a fat mess."

So Fifita went bush.

At the heaviest weight of his entire 11-year NRL career last November, the polarising front-rower headed "home" to Griffith.

Griffith is where Fifita has straightened his life out before - playing rugby union on Saturday and league on Sunday's as a teenager after moving to the Riverina town from Sydney to avoid jail time following a string of minor offences as a teenager.

It was the launching pad for his career.

"When I realised (how big I was) I grabbed my little brother (Kyle) and took off to Griffith,'' Fifita said. "We did boxing. I ended up dropping eight kilos in four days. I had too.

"Lucky there was a heatwave down there (Griffith). I didn't want to do it, but I knew it would be a benefit for us (Sharks).

"I put a plastic garbage bag under the jumper and started slugging it out.

 

 

"And I went on a juice diet. I didn't eat until night time and it's hard not to eat down there because the Italian food is amazing.

"For four days my little brother Kyle was with me and he just kept me on my toes.

"I've now dropped 15kg and I've got five to go. I want to get down to 118kg (for the beginning of the NRL season)."

118kg would be the lightest weight of Fifita's career and by comparison, when he won the premiership largely due to his powerhouse try for Cronulla in 2016, he weighed 128kg.

Also in the back of Fifita's mind are the words of his twin brother David, who has spent the past four years playing in the UK Super League, under the same six-again rule and less scrums that the NRL have enforced for 2021.

"The best thing for me was a phone call from my brother,'' Fifita said.

"He's played the rules that we're playing now and he said you need to go down under 120kg.

"He said: 'It's really fast Andrew.'

Andrew Fifita is fit and fired up for the new season. Picture: Richard Dobson
Andrew Fifita is fit and fired up for the new season. Picture: Richard Dobson

"This is the first full pre-season I've done since 2012, it's been tough but it's been good."

Outspoken and not afraid to give his opinion, Fifita also weighed into the off-field issue surrounding St George Illawarra star Corey Norman.

Norman and ex-Sharks hooker James Segeyaro were involved in a street fight earlier this week, which is now under the microscope of the NRL Integrity Unit.

"You have to cut them some slack,'' Fifita said. "Corey was trying to get Chicko (Segeyaro) out of four people trying to jump on him and one has come over.

"I've watched the video countless times and Corey copped a proper dog shot on the side and from behind. What is he meant to do?"

 

SHARKS EXPLORE DUBAI MATCH

The Sharks want to be the first NRL club to take rugby league to Dubai.

Fresh from securing Dubai-based courier and packaging service Aramex as the club's major sponsor for the next two years, Cronulla chief executive Dino Mezzatesta said he was keen to explore taking footy for the first time to the UAE.

"What a great opportunity - you never say never, not only for the Cronulla Sharks, but for the code,'' Mezzatesta said.

Sharks skipper Wade Graham shows off the club’s new jersey sponsor Aramex. Picture: Richard Dobson
Sharks skipper Wade Graham shows off the club’s new jersey sponsor Aramex. Picture: Richard Dobson

"An exhibition match or something similar, I'm sure I'll work close with (Aramex Australia CEO Peter Lipinski) on and I think both parties would be really eager to explore that.

"It would be wonderful for Australian rugby league, but also wonderful for the Cronulla Sharks.''

The plush Sevens Stadium in Dubai has hosted the Rugby Sevens since 1999, but the NRL are yet to explore the promotion of rugby league in the country.

Emblazoning the Sharks front of jersey for the 2021 and 2022 seasons, Aramex had explored working with the Bulldogs or the V8 Supercars for the first foray into sports sponsorship before partnering with Cronulla in a deal worth an estimated $1.4 million.

 

 

 

 

Originally published as 'Fat mess': Why Fifita went bush to get back in shape



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