Titanic $1.1m offer as Fifita backflips on quitting Broncos
The David Fifita contract saga has taken an explosive twist with the Broncos sensation calling coach Anthony Seibold to tell him he is quitting to join the Titans - then changing his mind in the space of 24 hours.
News Corp can reveal the Titans have upped the ante in one desperate last-ditch bid to poach Fifita from the Broncos, increasing their offer to $1.1 million a season in a bid to blow Brisbane out of the water.
Amid the Titans' club record offer, the off-contract Fifita is torn over what to do and the private machinations over the past 24 hours have the Broncos on edge about losing their best back-row prospect in 20 years.
Just last week, Broncos recruitment chief Peter Nolan held a meeting with Fifita, making it clear their $700,000 offer for the Queensland hulk was all they could afford under the salary cap.
Fifita was reportedly happy with those terms and verbally agreed to stay, even hugging Nolan as they left the negotiating table.
But the Titans have come back swinging with more money, prompting Fifita to go back to the Broncos saying the offer is too good to refuse and asking if Brisbane can find more room in the salary cap to increase their offer.
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Brisbane's recruitment-and-retention committee met on Tuesday when they agreed the club would not offer more than $700,000 - effectively a take-it-or-leave-it stance that was conveyed to Fifita.
That prompted Fifita to phone Nolan, coach Seibold and Broncos board member Darren Lockyer late Tuesday night to advise them he would be leaving the Broncos to join the Titans next season.
When Seibold went to sleep on Tuesday night, he hit the sack convinced Fifita would be wearing Titans colours in 2021.
But in a stunning development on Wednesday morning, Fifita called Seibold, Lockyer and Nolan again. He told them he hadn't completely made up his mind yet and was hopeful of staying at Red Hill, even if it means sacrificing $400,000 next year to remain a Bronco.
Like Fifita, Broncos bosses are in a state of confusion. They have told Fifita they have done everything they can, but if the decision is purely based on money, they simply can't compete with the Titans' massive offer.
The Titans have discussed a five-year deal with Fifita but due to his management dispute with agent Steve Deacon, the Broncos forward will agree to only a 12-month term before severing ties with Deacon.
A critical factor in Fifita's decision-making in his desire to pay off a house for his mum Gwen, who is playing an active role in negotiations.
Fifita has told the Broncos it is his life's ambition to buy a house for his mum and the Titans deal would inch him closer to that goal. But the Broncos have pointed out that a $700,000 deal is hardly small fry and will enable him to look after his family while playing at the NRL's richest club alongside his best mate Payne Haas.
In another key twist this morning, Fifita's teammate Tesi Niu has finalised a 12-month deal with the Broncos - rejecting almost twice as much money to go to the Titans next season.
The Broncos remain hopeful Fifita will follow Niu's lead and take less to stay.
Originally published as Titanic $1.1m offer as Fifita backflips on quitting Broncos