Should David Fifita Take The $850,000 On Offer And Join The Penrith Panthers?

The Penrith Panthers have reportedly offered Gold Coast Titans forward David Fifita $850,000 a year to join the club after meeting with him on the weekend and taking him around the panther set up.

There is no doubt Fifita could earn more money elsewhere. He can earn over $1 million per season by re-signing with the Gold Coast Titans, and the Canberra Raiders have been chasing his signature for a while now. The Sydney Roosters have money to spend, while the St George/Illawarra Dragons are dying to sign a big name player.

So why would David Fifita leave so much money on the table to join the Penrith Panthers?

By joining the Panthers Fifita would walk into a side that, at worst, is one of the top contenders for the 2025 NRL title. We don’t know yet how the 2024 season will end, but even with the Penrith losing James Fisher-Harris, Jarome Luai and Sunia Turuva, the Panthers will field a top 4 team in the 2025 competition even before Fifita joins the club.

At the Panthers Fifita would be in a team that is in contention for the title, and his role could be similar to that of Viliame Kikau when he played for the Panthers. A ride running second rower, running off the back of good halves, and with very capable outside backs to work with outside him.

On top of that, you have to wonder what the Panthers could do with a player that is so good at breaking the line, especially inside the opposition 20 meter line. There is no doubt that in the entire NRL, the Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers are the two clubs that could claim to get the most out of Fifita, using him in a more focused role than he currently plays. Unfortunately for the Storm, they don’t have the cap room available to sign Fifita, unless they move on Ryan Papenhuyzen, which I wouldn’t be surprised to see them do quite honestly.

So Fifita would walk into a top side, one that could use him better than most, and in the process have a great chance at winning a premiership. Sounds like a good deal.

Its a lot of money to leave on the table though…

You also wonder how Fifita would react to the Penrith Panthers environment, which is very focused, as the club holds very high standards for players in terms of fitness and dedication to winning.

One of the special things about this Panthers club we see right now is that they know they are achieving things on an all time historic level. They know they are writing their names into the history books. They understand where they are positioned right now, still being a fairly young side for all the success they’ve had, and they want more.

So Fifita would be walking into a team full of players that would expect nothing but the best from him. After all, thats what they all demand from each other. That may be a culture shock, having played for the Gold Coast Titans, but it may also be the change he is looking for.

Would we see Fifita become fitter than ever before at Penrith. Maybe dropping a few kilos to help his mobility and endurance? Would he be ready for the work that it would take to join the rest of the Panthers forwards whose fitness levels are other worldly?

The last thing Fifita would want is to stand out in the Panthers side as being a target because he isn’t quite up to the defensive standards of those around him.

It is a lot to ponder, but the fact Fifita met with the Panthers feels like he may be looking for a change of direction for his career.

Still….it’s a lot less money than he would earn elsewhere….

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