NRL legend Johnathan Thurston has ripped into the Gold Coast Titans’ ongoing recruiting push for Broncos star David Fifita.
The struggling Brisbane outfit are trying their best to keep Fifita as the Titans dangle a million-dollar carrot in front of him.
Fifita is still yet to make a final decision over whether he will stay in Red Hill for no more than $800,000 a season, or go to the Gold Coast for a reported $1 million a year, but the latest reports have him leaning more towards remaining a Bronco.
Earlier this week Thurston said the Gold Coast were naive in thinking that Fifita would be the magic solution to suddenly help them win more games.
And today the Cowboys and Queensland Maroons great hit out at Gold Coast’s tireless recruitment of Fifita as a gross mismanagement of their salary cap.
“I’m going to roast the Titans for their management of the salary cap and what they’re reportedly offering David Fifita,” Thurston said in his Wide World of Sports segment JT’s Toast and Roast.
“They’ve already got a million-dollar player with Ash Taylor in the halves and he probably hasn’t lived up to the expectation of being a million-dollar player, but we know the potential that he’s got. And now they’re reportedly offering $1.25 million for a backrower.
“Between those two players that’s nearly 25 percent of your salary cap there and if you’ve got two players on that money it’s going to be hard to attract other players.”
Thurston said the club were better off looking towards recruiting cheaper, more experienced players from NRL teams with a proven record of success, in an effort to introduce that to the Titans.
“I don’t think they’ve got it right and they certainly need to be going after some players that come from really good systems like the Melbourne Storm and the Sydney Roosters,” Thurston said.
“Someone in the middle third there you could think of is Dale Finucane, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, or Siosiua Taukeiaho – he was enormous last night.
“If I was the Titans I’d be looking at the management of their roster and certainly trying to aim for players that are going to win you games – I don’t think those two [Fifita and Taylor] will.
“Like the Morris twins – they’re going great at the Roosters and the three players that I mentioned, they’ve come from seasoned systems that get the job done.
“They’ve got a lot of young players there at the Titans so getting some older heads around the club would be enormous for those young blokes.
“They are in those systems, they know what it takes to win games, that know when you’ve got your back up against the wall what’s needed to get out of that, and win you games.”
Joey’s millionaire club
Rather than throwing big money at young talent that has a chance to be a standout NRL player for the next few years, Thurston said the influence of a more experienced recruit can be a game-changer for a club’s long-term fortunes.
“Players that come from [proven] systems, they teach the next generation of players what it takes to be an NRL player and play at the highest level,” he said.