Fifita is one of the code’s best up-and-coming prospects. AAP Image/Dan Peled.
Fifita is one of the code’s best up-and-coming prospects. AAP Image/Dan Peled.

Fifita charges into Origin contention

BRONCOS teen freak David Fifita will rocket into the frame for a shock State of Origin debut with a blockbusting performance against the Roosters at Suncorp Stadium.

Queensland selector Darren Lockyer confirmed the 19-year-old has been discussed as a bench bolter as the Maroons explore their interchange options following an injury-marred build-up to Origin I on June 5.

Incumbent halfback Daly Cherry-Evans (ankle) is racing the clock, while the loss of hookers Andrew McCullough (knee) and Jake Friend (bicep) has forced Queensland to consider their utility options if Ben Hunt wears the No.9 jumper.

That brings the prodigiously talented Fifita into the equation.

The rookie back-rower has played just 20 NRL games, but Maroons powerbrokers believe Fifita's explosive running and 107kg frame would be a handy weapon off the interchange bench.

The former Australian Schoolboys sensation scored a try in Brisbane's 26-10 defeat of Manly last week and will move a step closer to a maiden Maroons jumper if he fires against the star-studded Roosters.

"David Fifita is in the mix," Lockyer said.

"The utility position is one area we need to have a close look at.

Could Fifita be Queensland’s interchange weapon? Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images.
Could Fifita be Queensland’s interchange weapon? Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images.

"As a selection panel, Queensland like the utility player to be able to cover the back row or the centres and a guy like David Fifita can do that.

"He has speed and size and is playing some good football, so he's definitely in the discussions."

Former Queensland Origin lock Billy Moore believes Fifita, the first NRL player born in the 2000s to break into first grade, would relish a Maroons debut at Suncorp Stadium.

"Fifita will play Origin one day and it's not beyond him this year," Moore said.

"I regard David Fifita as a combination of Gorden Tallis and Justin Hodges. He has the power and brutality of Tallis with the athletic ability of a powerful outside back like Hodges.

"He is a physical specimen - it's only a matter of time before he is a genuine superstar in the NRL and Origin arenas."

Fifita has been clear about his Origin ambitions. AAP Image/Dan Peled.
Fifita has been clear about his Origin ambitions. AAP Image/Dan Peled.

At the start of pre-season, Fifita penned his goals for the year ahead. His main two were playing in round one for the Broncos and breaking into the Origin arena.

Fifita ticked the first box. Now he has Maroon on his mind.

"My next goal is to put that Maroons jersey on ... hopefully the opportunity will come," Fifita said.

"Growing up, I had that dream to play Origin, but it's important I stay grounded.

"The senior guys here like 'Gillo' (Matt Gillett) and Alex (Glenn) are teaching me a lot about the NRL and being consistent week to week."

Broncos coach Anthony Seibold believes Fifita can scale the greatest heights in the NRL.

"David has been outstanding for us this year with his attack," he said. "He is working diligently at training to get better defensively.

"David is a hell of a player and has an enormous future. If he continues to work hard like he is, he can achieve everything in the game."

News Corp Australia


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