Cronulla's Andrew Fifita celebrates after helping the Sharks to claim the 2016 NRL grand final against the Melbourne Storm.
Cronulla's Andrew Fifita celebrates after helping the Sharks to claim the 2016 NRL grand final against the Melbourne Storm. Cameron Spencer

Thaiday backs Fifita to fix 'those little off-field things'

RUGBY LEAGUE: Kangaroos veteran Sam Thaiday says Andrew Fifita has a future with the NRL and his country after the controversial prop's revelations he might quit the game.

Mal Meninga left Fifita out of the squad for this Saturday's one-off Test against New Zealand in Perth and the Four Nations tournament in England later this month after the Australian Rugby League Commission took a tough stance on the Shark player's association with one-punch killer Kieran Loveridge.

Fifita spoke to veteran broadcaster Alan Jones on Tuesday night, claiming he was being pushed out and was close to ending his association with rugby league at the highest level.

Thaiday was asked about Fifita's future yesterday following the revelations and said: "We are not pushing him out of the game.

"I think he's just in a bad spot at the moment and is probably disappointed that he's not here.

"I think if Andrew goes away and works on a couple of things, I am sure he will play many games in the NRL and many games for Australia as well.”

Thaiday said he hoped the Cronulla forward did sort those things out, adding: "He's a fantastic player and he's fantastic for our game.

"But we just need him to get those little things perfect and I am sure he will be back in the green and gold jersey one day.”

Fifita, 27, told Jones: "I feel I'm on my last chance at the NRL. They all know that, I know that. I'm thinking the worst at the moment.

"I've got one more mess-up and I'm out, my contract's ripped up.

"So I've already approached my management team, I've already had talks with the CEO (Cronulla boss Lyall Gorman), about negotiating elsewhere in different codes because of all this stuff that's going on.”

When asked about Fifita's claims he was being snubbed by the NRL, Thaiday told reporters the Sharks enforcer could make his own decisions but hoped he would be back on the field soon.

"That's his own personal choice,” Thaiday said of Fifita's claims. "I have got no control over what Andrew says.

"I have had a chance to play with him on a few different occasions and he's fantastic on the field. But it's those little off-field things he needs to fix up.”

Meanwhile, Scotland coach Steve McCormack has chosen four 2016 NRL players in his squad for the Four Nations tournament.

Cowboys fullback Lachlan Coote, teammate Kane Linnett, Dragons centre Euan Aitken and former Titans star Luke Douglas, who will play for St Helens next season, have all been picked.

The Scots will take on Australia, New Zealand and England later this month with 10 uncapped players, while Penrith hooker Peter Wallace (elbow) and former Kangaroos and Tigers forward Keith Galloway (achilles) will both miss out with injury.

Veteran halfback Danny Brough will captain the team and will be looking to add to his 20 appearances for Scotland.



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