Though the Gold Coast Titans are quietly confident of being able to keep their marquee man David Fifita at a discounted rate heading into the final year of his current contract, it's been revealed that the Titans are likely to be just one of four current NRL sides with an interest in the explosive back-rower.
Despite the Titans' confidence that they can retain Fifita's services even if he has to take a pay cut, a number of teams are said to be monitoring the situation.
While the St George Illawarra Dragons and Canberra Raiders have already been mentioned as possible destinations, Daily Telegraph Chief Sports reporter David Riccio believes the South Sydney Rabbitohs are also likely to be monitoring the contract situation.
The Raiders' interest is logical given they recently secured the signature of Fifita's partner Shaylee Bent, while the Red V are bereft of experience and depth in their pack following the release of a number of experienced players including George Burgess, Jack Gosiewski, Josh McGuire and Tariq Sims.
But Riccio believes the history between Fifita and current South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou means the cardinal and myrtle are a legitimate possibility should Fifita decide to cross the border.
“Dave Fifita's partner is off to the Raiders and you can put the Raiders in the mix, absolutely. They are keen – I know that for a fact,” Riccio told Triple M Breakfast.
“The key here – we know Fifita's been sitting on that $1.1-$1.2 million mark for being a franchise player at the Titans when he signed a few years ago.
“His form dipped, we know that. He sat on the edge of the field and really didn't have the impact the Titans had hoped. He's going to have to come down to around $750,000.
“Now that certainly piques the interest of the Raiders, and you can throw the Dragons in the mix.
“But I wouldn't be surprised if the Bunnies (entered the race) – keep an eye on them. Jason Demetriou has a relationship with David Fifita going back to their Broncos days together. Don't be surprised.
“The Titans feel as if they can do enough to retain him, but it's going to be a huge ‘watch this space' – because every coach will believe they can get the best out of him, and at around $750,000, I think that will start to pique the interest of several (more) clubs.”