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David Fifita contract, explained: Gold Coast Titans star makes decision, Penrith Panthers lead chase
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David Fifita contract, explained: Gold Coast Titans star makes decision, Penrith Panthers lead chase

David Fifita’s decision on his future has been reached after the Round 10 cut-off loomed large over proceedings on the Gold Coast.

“The Titans can confirm David Fifita has informed the club he will not be taking up his player option for the 2025 and 2026 seasons,” the club noted on Thursday morning.

The boom backrower inked a three-year contract extension last year. However, a clause in this deal quickly came to light that allowed Fifita to walk out on the Titans at the end of the season.

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“Is this the first time anything like that has been in someone’s contract?” Andrew Johns said on Wide World Of Sports‘ Immortal Behavior.

“I can’t believe that…it’s a crazy clause.”

Fifita signed his deal at the same time as Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, who inked a monster extension until the end of 2033.

While the captain is happy to remain on the Gold Coast for the rest of his career, Fifita’s stay with the club will come to an end shortly, with rivals lining up for the Queensland representative.

One of those clubs is the Penrith Panthers, who will table an $850,000 per season contract offer, according to SMH.

Who could David Fifita sign for when he leaves the Titans? Penrith Panthers lead the chase

The Panthers reportedly held a meeting with Fifita as they look to fill the void set to be made by the impending departure of James Fisher-Harris.

“I wouldn’t be doing my job properly unless I investigated every option that was available to the club moving forward,” Panthers football chief executive Matt Cameron told SMH.

“If David’s services are available for the 2025 season, it would be remiss of us not to look at him.”

Ivan Cleary echoed these sentiments when he discussed the club’s recruitment plans.

“We’re always looking to evolve, that’s the challenge when you’re losing players and if you’re just staying the same the game will go past you,” the coach said.

“We’re always looking to evolve but if you do that there’s always a danger you can lose what you’re good at too, so that’s been a balance.

“We got that a little bit wrong last year. It’s not a challenge, it’s actually fun as a group to work out how that looks and I’m looking forward to doing that as we go.”

Will Sydney Roosters sign David Fifita?

The Sydney Roosters also languid as a possible destination as they too have a large chunk of their salary cap to play with next year.

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is heading off to the Super League following close to 15 years of service in Bondi.

Luke Keary announced his shock retirement on the eve of Round 9, while Joey Manu and Joseph Suaalii are converting to rugby union at the end of the campaign.

Angus Crichton’s future at the Chooks is also far from certain with the backrower repeatedly linked to a switch to union once his contract runs out in 2024.

The Roosters have reported a four-year deal worth slightly less per season than the Panthers, who have offered Fifita a three-year contract.

Will Canberra Raiders make an offering for David Fifita?

The Canberra Raiders – who chased Fifita’s signature hard last year before he decided to remain on the Glitter Strip – are out of the running.

Ricky Stuart’s side are currently in the midst of a rebuild of sorts with Ethan Strange entrusted with the No.6 jersey, following Jack Wighton’s defection to South Sydney.

A host of other youngsters have also been blooded in the past two years, with Chevy Stewart given a run at fullback, Xavier Savage establishing himself on the wing and Kaeo Weekes filling in for injured halfback Jamal Fogarty.

With so many youngsters populating the roster, it is believed the money will still be there for a signing of Fifita’s caliber.

However, he has yet to be linked to the Green Machine as the Panthers, Dragons and Roosters lead the chase.

David Fifita’s contract, explained

Fifita inked a three-year extension midway through last season in what was seen as a massive coup for the Titans.

Yet it soon emerged that Fifita had the option to activate the final two years of this deal before Round 10.

Now he has opted not to do so, the 24-year-old has become a free agent who is able to negotiate a move elsewhere from 2025 onwards.