Rugby: Super Rugby franchise courting Andrew Fifita

Andrew Fifita of the Sharks celebrates winning the 2016 NRL Grand Final match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Melbourne Storm. Photo / Getty Images
Andrew Fifita of the Sharks celebrates winning the 2016 NRL Grand Final match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Melbourne Storm. Photo / Getty Images

An Australian Super Rugby franchise is reportedly chasing the signature of controversial Cronulla star Andrew Fifita.

The wrecking ball forward's future is as clouded as ever after he again antagonised the NRL over the decision to ban him from selection for the Kangaroos' Four Nations tour of the United Kingdom.

Fifita re-iterated his threat to walk away from the NRL and his contract with the Cronulla Sharks during an interview with Sky News on Tuesday night.

Fifita was overlooked for international honours because of his recent incidents of misbehaving off the field, including an ongoing NRL Integrity Unit investigation into his consorting and public support for convicted one-punch killer Kieran Loveridge.

Since publicly claiming he has spoken with his management and Cronulla Sharks officials about negotiating out of his 2017 NRL season deal, Fifita's representatives have been approached by two Super Rugby franchises interesting in recruiting him for the 2017 season.

Rugby League Week has reported one Australian Super Rugby franchise and one based in New Zealand have spoken to Fifita's manager to register their interest.

It is unclear if the Australian Rugby Union is supporting the efforts of the Australian club.

The development was reported just minutes after Kangaroos forward Sam Thaiday urged Fifita not to walk away from the NRL over his standoff with league officials.

Thaiday, one of the game's leading figures, said he would hate to see Fifita lost to rugby league.

"Definitely. He is a huge character in our game and he is a huge drawcard for a lot of young kids out there as well," Thaiday said.

"He is someone that young kids look up to and aspire to be.

"Where he is getting himself into trouble at the moment is, he is making some bad decisions and some bad choices in his life.

"I think his footballing life is great and it is on track at the moment. It is just the off-field stuff that he needs to knuckle down on and get right."

In speaking with broadcaster Alan Jones on Tuesday, Fifita said the NRL and police were trying to make a fool of him after he was warned for visiting Loveridge in jail.

"I feel I'm on my last chance at the NRL. They all know that, I know that," he said.

"I'm thinking the worst at the moment. I've got one more mess up and I'm out, my contract's ripped up.

"So I've already approached my management team, I've already had talks with the CEO (Cronulla boss Lyall Gorman) about negotiating elsewhere in different codes because of all this stuff that's going on."

But Thaiday, who is in Perth with the Australian squad ahead of Saturday's Test against New Zealand at nib Stadium, said Fifita had a big future in rugby league if he could sort himself out away from the game.

"I am sure if he can figure that stuff out he will play many, many games for Australia going forward," the Brisbane Broncos forward said. "But at the moment it is those things that are the problem.

"We want the best of the best playing for Australia and those players have to be the best of the best on and off the field."


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