Coach Justin Holbrook said there was no pressure on the 20-year-old to live up to the price tag, and the excitement for him as a coach would probably hit home on Monday when he addressed the group with Fifita included for the first time.
“David is not a goal-kicking halfback or someone in charge of controlling our team, he just has to do his job as a back-rower, and he’s already one of the best back-rowers in the competition,” Holbrook said.
“I want him to enjoy his footy, he’s got so much improvement in his game, and as a coach that’s what I’m excited about.
“I said to him before he signed, ‘there are no expectations on you, you’re a good enough player already, and I just want to help you get better’.
“He’s not due in until Monday but I’ve been in the office and he’s been coming in nearly every day doing his rehab, so he’s already off to a great start in terms of his commitment to the club.
“I think [the excitement] will be there on Monday when the boys are in and he’s one of them. It will be great for our group, that’s for sure.
Fifita left the Broncos to sign a mega deal with the Gold Coast, and will be joined by premiership winner and Maroons firebrand forward Tino Fa’asuamaleaui. Fa’asuamaleaui signed with the Titans 12 months ago on a deal worth about $500,000 a year, a steal for the Titans given what the 20-year-old has achieved since.
As for coaching Smith, Holbrook, like the rest of the NRL, was in the dark. The Titans have one spot left on their roster, but would move a few things around to accommodate the future immortal.
“None whatsoever, I haven’t spoken to him,” Holbrook said when asked for a Smith update. “You’d probably have a better idea on what he’s doing.”
One player league fans should keep an eye on is Jojo Fifita, a schoolboy rugby star who will join the main group in the new year when he turns 18.
A speedy outside back, the youngster is due to undergo a clean-out of his shoulder next week, and will be given time to develop.
Titans boss Dennis Watt told the Herald: “He was with TSS, The Southport School. They had one game this year when there was only room for one spectator because of COVID, and the one guy allowed to watch was Dave Rennie, the Australian coach. Jojo scored four tries.”
The Titans are expected to be the big movers in 2021 given the addition of Fifita and Fa’ausamaleaui, not to mention the rise of gun fullback AJ Brimson.
Fifita said ”it would mean everything” if he could lead them to the finals for just the second time in the past decade.
Sports news, results and expert commentary delivered straight to your inbox each weekday. Sign up here.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.