Former NRL star Andrew Fifita reveals how close he came to Super League switch

Josh McAllister
Andrew Fifita, NRL, Super League, Wakefield Trinity.

Andrew Fifita warms up with team-mates Braden Hamlin-Uele and Aaron Woods in 2020 for Cronulla Sharks. Photo by AAP Image/David Neilson.

Former NRL forward and dual-international Andrew Fifita has admitted that he was “very close” to joining brother David at Wakefield Trinity.

Andrew, now 34, retired at the end of the 2022 NRL campaign due to injury, with reported interest from several clubs to continue his career through to 2023.

He scored 40 tries in 251 NRL games for Wests Tigers and Cronulla Sharks, and Wakefield Trinity came close to being one of those clubs during a great rugby league career.

Having won 17 caps for Australia and Tonga on the international scene, Andrew won the 2016 NRL Premiership with the Sharks, scoring a try in the 14-12 victory over Melbourne Storm.

He represented New South Wales on 10 occasions in State of Origin and his switch from Australia to his native Tonga also ignited the international game and inspired a wave of players to follow in the years to come.

Canterbury Bulldogs and Manly Sea Eagles were both said to be keen on the forward for this season, only for a medical to reveal he required seven operations to correct injuries.

Andrew flew to the other side of the globe to surprise brother David for his 150th appearance for Wakefield during the relegation battle with Castleford Tigers in Super League Round 22 at Belle Vue.

Speaking to reporter Jenna Brooks at half-time on Sky Sports, Andrew revealed he was close to a Super League switch before a conversation with Craig Fitzgibbon persuaded him to remain in Cronulla.

Andrew Fifita: “I was very, very, very close.”

“I was very, very, very close,” Andrew said.

“I was getting ready to sign a deal and then I had a little phone call from Fitzy [Craig Fitzgibbon] and he kind of settled me in Cronulla.

“I was very close. Just to play with my brother would have been massive.”

Andrew is regarded as one of the toughest players to ever step foot on the rugby league field, which included a brave return to the game after a horror throat injury saw him placed into an induced coma in 2021, before doctors performed an operation to repair a fractured larynx.

READ NEXT: ‘Rubbish’ rule slammed, woeful Wakefield & Cas’ big Danny Ward mistake – Five takeaways