The $50k standing between Broncos-Fifita deal
Former Brisbane skipper Darius Boyd has appealed for David Fifita not to quit the Broncos, saying the Queensland Origin superstar is on track to captain the NRL's glamour club.
For all the millions being thrown at Fifita by the Gold Coast and other NRL rivals, The Courier-Mail can reveal a meagre $50,000 is the sticking point in negotiations between the Broncos and the blockbusting back-rower.
Brisbane's original offer to the off-contract Fifita for next season was $650,000. That was increased last month to $700,000, but after the Titans tabled $1.1 million, then raised the stakes to $1.25m on Wednesday, Fifita went back to the Broncos asking for $750,000 for 2021.
The message to the Broncos was emphatic: come to the party with an extra $50,000 and Fifita will sign immediately.
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The Broncos held an emergency recruitment-and-retention committee meeting on Tuesday to discuss one final pay increase. After talks involving board member Darren Lockyer, chief executive Paul White and Broncos football operations chief Peter Nolan, the upgrade was denied.
Frustrated at what he perceived to be only a marginal increase in remuneration considering the millions he could earn elsewhere, Fifita called Broncos coach Anthony Seibold and told him he was joining the Titans.
Fifita has since backflipped on that stance and is now seriously weighing up his next move. The 20-year-old is tipped to finally commit to the Broncos within the week and Boyd urged Fifita to consider more than just his bank account.
"I have been to a few different clubs and I never left for money," said Boyd, who played at St George Illawarra and Newcastle.
"Money doesn't bring happiness.
"Money can help, for sure, but in the NRL almost every player gets paid good money, whatever team you are playing for.
"It's important also to be successful and you want to be winning premierships and playing representative football.
"I'm not sure what exact figures Dave is getting offered and what the difference is, but there are several things he has to weigh up.
"He has to consider what is best for him and his family, what's going to make him happiest as a person and what's going to be the best thing for his playing career.
"There's a lot of things you have to weigh up when you make a big career decision, but your happiness is most important."
Fifita has played just 37 games since his NRL debut in 2018 and Boyd, who skippered Brisbane for three seasons, believes the Maroons hulk can develop into a Broncos and Origin captain if he stays loyal.
"Dave is a super talent who is only going to get better," he said.
"We have all seen what he can do and it's disappointing that he is out injured at the moment, it would be great to have him out on the field but hopefully he isn't too far away.
"Dave is a local boy and it would be great to keep him in Broncos colours.
"He can be our future captain of the club and even rep teams as well. The sky is the limit for Dave."
Titans coach Justin Holbrook said he isn't sweating on Fifita's final call.
"Dave is a really good young guy and he will make his own decision," he said.
"I will get on with my job. He is a big story in the game, but it is ongoing so I'll leave it at that.
"He has a big decision to make."
Souths coach Wayne Bennett, who gave Fifita his NRL debut at the Broncos, dismissed suggestions the back-rower isn't worth $1.25 million.
"It's the market, it's like buying a house isn't it?" he said.
"If someone wants to pay you a ridiculous amount of money for your house you're not going to say no.
"The bottom line is, it says what they think of him and how important he is to the club.
"Everyone sees the great ability he's got; there's another generation of football in front of him ... I don't know of many other 20-year-olds that have played like he has in my time in the NRL."
Originally published as The $50k standing between Broncos-Fifita deal