Despite being labelled as a '$1.2 million car crash' by one journalist earlier in the year, David Fifita looks set to earn the big bucks still in 2024, however he may have to depart the Gold Coast to do so.
While the Titans are keen to retain his services on a cut-price deal, Canberra appear ready to blow Justin Holbrook's offer out of the water - and there's more than just money on the table for the hulking back-rower.
The Daily Telegraph is reporting that the Raiders are preparing to offer Fifita a whopping $2.7 million deal over three-years, as well as his partner Shaylee Bent a contract to join Canberra's maiden NRLW side in 2023.
Bent, similarly to her partner, is a damaging back-rower blessed with speed, and is fresh off making her Jillaroos debut at the World Cup after some strong form for St George Illawarra this season.
Elliott played the 2022 season in the nation's capital while Boyle's father played for the Raiders, however the duo made their decision prior to the NRL's announcement which added four new teams into the NRLW for 2023, including Canberra.
🇹🇴 David Fifita crashes over to give Tonga the lead.
— Rugby League World Cup 2021 (@RLWC2021) October 24, 2022
While Fifita will be forced to take at least a $300,000 per season pay cut, a $900,000-a-year deal with the Raiders will ensure that the Tongan international remains one of the highest paid forwards in the NRL.
Despite his constant criticism, the former Bronco has had some bright moments during his stint on the Gold Coast, scoring 17 tries in 22 games last year, as well as making his World Cup debut for Tonga last month.
The Titans were reportedly only set to offer Fifita $700,000 per season, a considerable drop from the Raider's offer, however Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook isn't concerned about losing the superstar.
“I'm confident David will stay,” Holbrook told News Corp.
“I've made it clear I'd like Dave to stay and all the indications from Dave are that he will be here.
“We still have to go through a process with his management. It was hard to do anything while Dave was away, but we will do everything we can to keep him at the club.”
The Raiders already have Hudson Young and Elliott Whitehead signed as their starting edge forwards, however the Englishman is set to turn 34 before next season's end, and is only contracted through to the end of 2024.
Both Fifita and Bent are expected to tour Canberra's facilities within the next month as Ricky Stuart prepares to ramp up negotiations, and possibly leave the Gold Coast with a $1.2 million hole in their salary cap.