Andrew Fifita will become one of the highest paid Rugby League players in the world when he joins the Canterbury Bulldogs in 2015. The deal, which New Limited is reporting to be worth $850,000 per season over four years, will see him join the Bullodogs, shunning offers from the Cronulla Sharks, South Sydney Rabbitohs and even the Australian Rugby Union.
Fifita is a fantastic signing for the Bulldogs. He is a young forward that has already played for New South Wales at State Of Origin level and for Australia at international level. He has proven to be very resilient, missing very few games through injury or suspension, and he has the ability to play a lot of minute for a player his size.
His loss is a massive blow to the Cronulla Sharks who tabled a very good offer to him, reported to be around $750,000 per season. With the club battling issues raised in the ASADA investigation that has so far resulted in the coach being suspended for 12 months, and with more fallout likely to come, its understandable that Fifita may have been looking for a chance of scenery.
Fifita will join a Bulldogs forward pack that looks like it could be absolutely unstoppable in 2015. Playing alongside Frank Pritchard, James Graham and Sam Kasiano, the Bulldogs will have a forward rotation the lines of which you rarely see at club level.
If they could entice Tony Williams to stop being so lazy and actually put in a bit of effort, the Bulldogs forward pack will be almost unstoppable.
Many will question the decision to pay a forward of any kind that much money. Just a few seasons ago $850,000 a year would have got you any player you wanted. With the way the NRL salary cap is set to rise though I think we are going to see more of the games elite players earn that type of money. Elite playmakers will always command the highest money, but its about time the forwards got a bit of cash thrown there way too.
What this does do is reset the market on how much an elite forward can command. It also make you wonder how much the next big deal in the NRL will be worth.
I suspect that in a couple of years time Daly Cherry-Evans will become the games highest paid player and will push the $2 million per season mark.
Fifita is a bold signing for the Bulldogs, and his loss is a bitter blow for the Sharks. It will be interesting to see how he goes at his new club in 2015 and how the Sharks recover from the loss of one of their biggest stars.
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