Sport Fifita's Origin Blues dream alive, with Tonga allegiance no barrier

23:56  16 may  2018
23:56  16 may  2018 Source:

Fifita says he'll play Origin for free

  Fifita says he'll play Origin for free In-form Cronulla prop Andrew Fifita has thrown another spanner in the works by pledging to play Origin for free in 2018 if picked by NSW coach Brad Fittler.The NRL's Dally M leader made the stunning pledge after leading Cronulla to their fifth straight win on Sunday, a 22-16 home triumph over Canterbury that vaulted the Sharks into fifth spot.

NSW coach Brad Fittler has revealed Andrew Fifita is yet to declare his allegiance to the Blues as he weighs up his representative future. However with Tonga ' s Pacific Test against Samoa to be played a day before Origin II, Fifita has a difficult decision on the horizon.

Andrew Fifita representing NSW Blues . Source: Getty Images. Kent also believes Fifita wouldn’t be selected for Origin even if he did pledge his allegiance to his state.

Big performer: Andrew Fifita was immense for the Blues in game one in 2017© AAP Big performer: Andrew Fifita was immense for the Blues in game one in 2017

Cameron Smith's representative retirement caught everybody by surprise, but what will come as an even bigger shock is the revelation Andrew Fifita remains eligible to play for NSW in games one and three of this year's Origin series.

Most assumed Fifita had ditched the Blues entirely this year when he elected to play for Tonga in the Pacific Test. The Test against Samoa will be played just 24 hours before game two of the Origin series against Queensland in Sydney.

But Fairfax Media can reveal the eligibility rules allow Fifita to still make himself available for the MCG and Suncorp Stadium games – on June 6 and July 11 – provided Brad Fittler and the Blues want him.

Fifita not giving up on Origin dream

  Fifita not giving up on Origin dream Andrew Fifita says he hasn't given up hope of turning out for NSW this State of Origin series, despite pledging his allegiance to Tonga.Fifita's chances of being selected for the Blues this year remain muddied with conflicting messages coming from NSWRL hierarchy over the last several days.

Andrew Fifita says he' s played his last game for NSW and Australia after electing to represent Tonga over the Blues in this year' s State of Origin period. "I won't be playing for Australia again and I'm sticking with Tonga ."

Fifita rejects Blues and Kangaroos in favour of Tonga . Fifita caused waves when he pulled out of the Kangaroos World Cup squad last year to play for the Pacific nation and has long weighed up who to pledge his allegiance to in 2018.

Tonga remains a tier-two nation, despite their success at the World Cup where they got within a whisker of a dream final appearance, which means their players can also play for tier-one nations such as England, New Zealand and Australia, and are also eligible for NSW or Queensland.

While Fittler and the Blues may have reservations about a player who opted to pick Tonga in the first place, plenty of NSW fans will be thinking otherwise.

When asked in the press conference after Sunday's win over Canberra if he would contemplate a return to the NSW Origin side, Fifita said: “If they let me play [game] one and three.”

The front row Blues debate will only intensify should Fifita embarrass Blues contenders Aaron Woods and David Klemmer when Cronulla host Canterbury on Sunday afternoon. Fittler will have one of the best views from the sideline as part of Channel Nine's coverage.

Former NSW Blues players speak out against Andrew Fifita's possible Origin selection

  Former NSW Blues players speak out against Andrew Fifita's possible Origin selection Former NSW enforcer Mark Geyer has implored the new Blues hierarchy not to pick Cronulla prop Andrew Fifita for the upcoming series. What began as a throw-away line from Fifita last weekend has become a genuine story after Blues advisor Greg Alexander refused to rule out picking the Sharks big man in 2018.The 28-year-old has pledged his allegiance to Tonga but is still eligible to play for the Blues because the Tongans are a tier-two nation.He is unavailable for Origin II because he will play for Tonga against Samoa in the Pacific Test a day earlier.

Tonga 'Uli'uli Fifita (February 3, 1959) is a semi-retired Tongan professional wrestler, known for his appearances in both World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).

Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler said: " Fifita has come to a decision about his allegiance towards Tonga . I wish he and the Tongan Rugby League team all the very best." State of Origin . Sims Believes in Origin Dream . 1 week ago.

Still Blue: Andrew Fifita has committed his international future to Tonga, but it does not make it impossible for him to play for NSW.© NRL Photos Still Blue: Andrew Fifita has committed his international future to Tonga, but it does not make it impossible for him to play for NSW. You have to wonder what the Blues will do with Fifita should Woods, Klemmer or a player such as Penrith's Reagan Campbell-Gillard break down with injury.

The man himself half-jokingly said he was available for games one and three after Cronulla's win in Canberra on Sunday.

Fifita is arguably the form prop in the game, and at least one former Blues great believes it makes perfect sense to utilise the powerhouse for two games, rather than none.

Jason Stevens played eight games for NSW and was the starting prop alongside Fifita in Cronulla's team of the half century, and he told Fairfax Media on Wednesday night: "If Andrew plays that would send a shiver down Queensand's spine.''

"I'd pick him, 100 per cent, I'd have him in there in a heartbeat,'' Stevens said.

Sterling's brutal reminder for Origin contenders

  Sterling's brutal reminder for Origin contenders With James Roberts and Latrell Mitchell both in contention for a NSW Origin spot, Peter Sterling issues a strong warning ahead of the opening game on June 6th.With both James Roberts and Latrell Mitchell in contention for a spot in the side, Sterling says there’s still plenty of doubt over the pair, after they went head-to-head when the Broncos played the Roosters on Friday night.

Speaking on the Halfcast Podcast, Fifita confirmed his allegiance to Tonga and told of Taumalolo's seismic declaration in the aftermath of a last-gasp NSW Origin skipper Boyd Cordner backed Fifita ' s decision, while the Blues still have plenty of depth in the middle with David Klemmer, Aaron Woods

PAUL Gallen has urged Cronulla teammate Andrew Fifita to leave new NSW coach Brad Fittler in no doubt that his allegiance lies with the Blues ahead of Tonga this year. Choosing Origin over Tonga would be a big decision for Fifita , who has spoken about the pride he and his family felt when

"He's the best prop in the game, and I think he has been for a while. Every time he carries the ball he needs three forwards to bring him down.

"He's got the agility of a winger, can pass before or through the line and has got that speed when playing the ball.''

Even former Maroons big bopper Sam Backo agreed Fifita should be considered by the Blues.

Backo, who played seven Origins for Queensland and scored three tries in the late 1980s, said: "He's proud of where he's come from and he's representing his country, but if he also qualifies for NSW, let him play for NSW.

"Front-rowers take time to mature. He's starting to mature. He's a big strapping lad who always looks awkward on the field, but he's strong and plays well.''

Fifita was on his way to a training camp in Rooty Hill with the Tongan team last year when he was diverted to Canberra at the last minute to link with Mal Meninga's Kangaroos for the Anzac Test.

Tongan coach Kristian Woolf said it up to Fifita if he also wanted to play for the Blues, but conceded: ''I don't think it would be a terrific look''.

"I do know Andrew is always welcome to play for Tonga,'' Woolf said. "He's come for the right reasons and you tend to play well when you play for the right reasons.

"Andrew has been outstanding. Without being around Cronulla, his coach [Shane Flanagan] deserves a lot of credit for the way Andrew has developed as a person and player and certainly as a leader.''

Former NSW hitman Mark Geyer was not a fan of Fifita being picked if he was unavailable for all three games.

"If you're in, you're in, and if you're out, you're out, otherwise you're taking a spot off someone like Campbell-Gillard or [Trent] Merrin, Paul Vaughan or Jack de Belin,'' Geyer said. "No one player is bigger than the game."

The Queensland pack has lost Matt Gillett and possibly Josh McGuire to injury, Matt Scott is one of several players out of form, while Smith was their heart and soul.

Maroons expect very different NSW side on and off field under Fittler .
Queensland powerbrokers expect a new-look Blues to be better on and off the field as Fittler takes over the reins from Laurie Daley.Queensland chairman of selectors Gene Miles expects new Blues coach Brad Fittler to employ a "no dickheads" policy as part of his rebuild of the NSW Origin squad and its culture off the field.

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