It was supposed to be so easy. Just take back the DVD, withdraw that extra money, tell mum I wouldn’t be back for tea, then grab my savings and hurry.
I don’t know that the opening lyrics of The Streets’ 2004 masterpiece is entirely applicable to David Fifita – I mean, he’s probably never even seen a DVD, but on the other hand, you should always tell your mum if you won’t be back for tea – but the title of the album is well worth ruminating on.
A grand don’t come for free.
Except, in David’s case, it’s five hundred grand.
For the uninitiated, Mike Skinner created a concept album in which the central character loses a thousand pounds and isn’t sure which of his mates has, obviously, come to his house and pinched it.
He discovers at the end – spoilers for a 16-year-old album – that none of his mates had done the dirt on him, the shoebox full of dough had simply fallen down the back of his TV.
Dave, here’s the good news: even if you decide to take the extra half a mill the Titans are offering you each year in cash, you’ll never lose it down the back of the telly. It won’t fit.
I know when we’re talking contract offers for top-class rugby league players, it’s all essentially imaginary. There are guys who are on $450,000 and complain they’re being underpaid. They clearly have no idea what money is worth.
And that’s not me having a potshot at the prices thrown around or the players earning it. You’re worth what someone’s willing to pay.
So it’s probably good advice to Fifita that there’s more to footy than just cash and he should go where he’ll be happy, win premierships, become a better player, and continue his representative career.
But the offer to go to the Gold Coast isn’t a little bit more than what he’ll get to stay put in Brisbane.
Word is the Broncos have tabled a deal worth $750,000 a year. That is an eye-watering sum in anyone’s books.
But the little club down the coast have absolutely blown it away with a reported $1.25 million-a-year contract.
Go where you’ll be happy. Win premierships. Become a better player. Continue your rep career.
Or make an amount of money that sets you up for the rest of your life by the time you’re 26.
Because that’s what this offer is: rest-of-his-life money.
By staying put at Red Hill, Fifita is missing out on $2.5 million. Yeah, taxes and agents and whatever, but those expenses are present wherever he ends up.
This is a financial prospect that’s frankly irresponsible to turn down. Be too bad if he was a 20-year-old, or a footy player, or the kind of guy who ends up in jail in Bali.
Dave, whoever is talking to you had best have put this in perspective, because while the Broncos are going to make you a very wealthy man (well, they’ve already done that), the Titans are giving you ‘retire in five years’ money.
I’m not even kidding.
By just banking the extra $500,000 a year at a decent rate, by the time you hit the end of the deal – provided the world has, as we’d expect, recovered from its current economic malaise – if you wanted to give the game away, you’d have enough money to just live off the interest at the same rate as the average Australian.
Except you’d have also paid off several mortgages with the other $700,000 per year you’re making, so the third of the salary most put away in rent or mortgage payments could be spent on… anything!
Not for nothing either, but it’s not like you’re leaving the Roosters and an annual shot at a title.
It’s broadly accepted that the Broncos will get themselves out of the current hole they find themselves in, simply because they’re too big and too wealthy to stay down for too long.
And that makes sense, but there is a rebuild going on and I wonder if a premiership window is going to open in the next five years. I’m not saying it can’t, but it’s no guarantee.
As for the Titans, yesterday they announced the signing of Herman Ese’ese, who will join boom Storm rookie Tino Fa’asuamaleaui on the glitter strip in 2021. Add those two to a pack containing Moeaki Fotuaika, Ryan James (fingers crossed) young Beau Fermor, and David Fifita? That squad could claim some big scalps.
Even with Fifita there, I’m not confident of the Titans winning a title any time soon, but they’re about as likely as the Broncos.
Also, David, David, David. It’s an extra half a million dollars per year. That is just so. Much. Money! And with the salary cap likely to be frozen, if not go down, in the coming years, this is not an offer that will likely come along again.
Take the five years. Take the money. You might not win a title, but you’re so young that there will still be plenty of time to do that later. This offer won’t come up again.
Withdraw that extra money, tell mum you won’t be back for tea, then grab your savings and hurry.