Despite reported interest from both the Canberra Raiders and St George Illawarra Dragons, reports suggest the Gold Coast Titans are now confident of extending David Fifita's time at the club.
The gun second-rower was well below his best in 2022 and has had a rough time since joining the Titans.
The now 22-year-old joined the club ahead of 2021, having played the first 44 games of his career at the Broncos where he also made a State of Origin debut for Queensland.
His form hasn't been the same in Justin Holbrook's side. A solid 2021 was followed by an inconsistent 2022, matching the rest of his teammates as the Titans fell from their finals finish of 2021 to the bottom four last year.
Fifita at one point was playing in the centres or coming off the bench, falling out of favour with Holbrook as Beau Fermor quickly rose to become the side's premier second-rower despite the wage difference between he and Fifita.
Despite the lack of form, the Titans are well-known to be keen on re-signing Fifita, and are now confident, according to a News Corp report.
Both the Dragons and Raiders were believed to be well in the hunt for Fifita, but it now appears the Titans are the front-runners, with the Raiders' package deal for both Fifita and partner Shaylee Bent, who is an NRLW player, falling over.
It's understood both players could still end up at the Raiders, although it's not longer a deal that would see both go and be reliant on the other moving.
Fifita has toured Raiders' facilities in Canberra and met with re-signed head coach Ricky Stuart, but Titans' CEO Steve Mitchell told the publication that the club are hopeful of a positive outcome with Fifita.
“It's hard to talk retention and recruitment but we're hopeful for a positive outcome with David,” he said.
“David enjoys the environment here but we're under no illusions in regard to how much other clubs might want David given his capability.
“I think he enjoys the club and has a good environment here. He enjoys the coaching staff and playing group.
“Dave's been with us for a few years and we'd certainly like him to stay.
“He's been good and is training well, he seems to be in a good place. The reports of his training have been strong and he's put his head down and gone to work.”
It's well-known that Fifita will have to take a pay cut for 2023 and beyond, no matter which club he ultimately signs with.