EDS: Please note language in 10th paragraph.
By James MacSmith
SYDNEY, April 1 AAP – Paul Gallen is hopeful Andrew Fifita will stay with Cronulla but the Sharks skipper says he isn’t going to pressure the representative star to do so.
Fifita’s multi-million-dollar four-year NRL contract with Canterbury was sensationally terminated on Monday after the two parties said they could not agree to terms.
The NSW and Kangaroos prop is said to be mulling over a return to rugby union but Gallen said he was hopeful a “confused” Fifita would sign a new contract with the struggling Sharks.
“He might be struggling with it at the moment but it is just something we have to help him get through,” Gallen said on Tuesday.
“He would be concerned about his future, but there is no doubt he is going to get a contract.
“I would like to see him stay, I was disappointed that he left, everyone was, but we understand it is a business, you have to do your best to look after yourself and your family while you can.
“I will certainly help him whatever anyway I can but I certainly won’t be telling him what to do or where to sign. That is a decision for him and his management and whatever deal is best for him.
“I’m sure the Sharks will talk to him, fingers crossed he stays here.”
In an interview with AAP last week, Fifita said he wished he had returned to rugby instead of signing his Bulldogs contract that was to begin next season.
“If I could go back now, I wish I chose rugby and then I wouldn’t be getting all the s*** I’ve been catching now,” he said.
Fifita was referring to criticism from Sharks fans. Gallen said that was something the barnstorming prop would have to accept.
“That’s the way it is,” Gallen said.
“That is something Andrew has to learn to deal with, especially the player that he is now. He is an elite player, he is one of the top players in the game and when he doesn’t perform well he is going to cop that criticism.”
Fifita didn’t look like a player with a weight on his mind at training on Tuesday as he continually joked with teammates and even wrote his name in the dew on the Remondis Stadium turf.