NRL Rd 18 - Titans v Broncos
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JULY 16: David Fifita of the Titans is tackled during the round 18 NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Brisbane Broncos at Cbus Super Stadium, on July 16, 2022, in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Gold Coast Titans star second rower David Fifita will require surgery to repair a pectoral muscle injury.

In a statement, the Titans have confirmed Fifita, who regained his Queensland Origin spot during a chaotic 2023 season, suffered a partial tear to the muscle during pre-season training.

The club also suggested he has an "aim" to return for the start of the 2024 season.

"Titans forward David Fifita will head for surgery after injuring his pectoral muscle," the club wrote.

"The backrower sustained a partial tear during pre-season training.

"He'll complete his rehab over the coming weeks, with the aim of making his return for the start of the 2024 season."

The injury will mean Fifita sits on the sideline for a number of weeks. While full ruptures of a pectoral muscle can leave players facing over four months out of the game - an injury that almost certainly would have left Fifita sidelined for Round 1 - a partial tear gives him the chance of returning in early March.

That said, Fifita will at best have an incredibly disrupted pre-season for 2024. It's the last thing he or the club needed coming off an excellent 2023 campaign which saw the second-rower fight his way back into the Queensland Origin side and sign a long-term extension that, clauses related to Des Hasler aside, will see him remain on the Gold Coast until the end of 2026.

The big-money extension makes Fifita the club's second highest-paid player only behind fellow forward and club captain Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, who has re-signed with the Titans for the next decade.

The star forward, who has been linked time and time again with an exit from the Titans, was among the club's most important players in 2023 and will play a crucial part in any finals charge during 2024 for the Parkwood-based side.

The Titans also welcome back Beau Fermor for 2024 after the at one point fringe Origin second-rower missed the entirety of 2023 with an ACL injury.

It means the club have both second-rowers coming into 2024, and life under Des Halser, on the back of long-term injury recoveries.

The Titans open their season on March 9 against the St George Illawarra Dragons before having a bye in Round 2, with games against the Canterbury Bulldogs (away) and Dolphins (home) to follow in March.