Wakefield Trinity head coach Mark Applegarth admits he wouldn’t be surprised if Friday’s clash with Catalans would be the last for David Fifita due to the imminent birth of his child.
His return to Belle Vue was confirmed earlier in May by the Super League strugglers in a huge boost for their fight for top flight status, leaving his family behind in Australia.
The 34-year-old has since featured 11 times this year, including all four wins to date, having initially left the club at the end of 2022 to return Down Under.
Applegarth’s side have just three games remaining, finding themselves two points below Castleford Tigers on the table, with Steve McNamara’s Dragons having lost their last two games to be knocked off the top by Wigan.
But tomorrow’s Round 25 tie could be the last for Fifita, with the final two games coming up against Leigh and Hull KR respectively.
“He’s [Fifita] playing tomorrow, then his partner is due anytime soon. It’ll be played by ear after that, but that’s not a surprise to us. That’s always been the case,” Applegarth told media on Thursday.
“There’s always the option too that if we desperately need him for example, he can always hop on that plane for a two or three day stint like his brother.
“We’ll play it by ear tomorrow. Family comes first, so there’s no pressure from me or the club. It’s whatever is right for him and his family.”
David Fifita could return home as Wakefield boss provides injury latest
Will Dagger suffered ligament damage following a collision with St Helens centre Konrad Hurrell in the defeat to St Helens and could be a doubt for the rest of the season.
In a huge boost, Kelepi Tanginoa is set to return to action for the first time since May after suffering a broken arm. First choice full-back Max Jowitt is also close to marking his return.
Meanwhile, former Cronulla Sharks forward Fifita announced his second retirement via social media earlier this week, although Applegarth admitted he held discussions about the possibility for 2024.
“There genuinely was [conversations for 2024],” Applegarth said.
“But I think Dave, he’s not getting any younger, he knows that this year he’s come and done a job but I think next year his body is telling him that’s probably enough.
“I think he announced it on his social media this week. I tried to [convince him], but the thing is with big Dave, it’s never about the money and all that side of it.
“He’s a big character and I think he’s made the right call for him and his family. He’s put in a great shift in the last few years with Wakefield and it’s only right he goes out on his own terms.”