More than 20 per cent of the Gold Coast’s $10 million salary cap would be committed to just two players next season if David Fifita’s big-money move to the Titans plays out.
But as he awaits the Brisbane forward’s decision, Titans coach Justin Holbrook says it is a scenario he is comfortable with.
The tug of war for the 20-year-old’s talents escalated on Wednesday when the Titans reportedly upped their offer to an NRL record deal of $1.25 million a season.
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Fifita had been tossing up a $1.1m-per season offer from the Titans, one he reportedly intended to take before changing his mind and indicating his intention to remain at Red Hill.
Halfback Ashley Taylor’s $1m-a-season deal runs until the end of the 2021 campaign, meaning he and Fifita would take up the lion’s share of the cap if the Titans’ bold play comes off.
Holbrook has given Fifita, recovering from a knee injury and not set for an NRL return for at least another fortnight, clear air to make the final call.
Jarrod Wallace (2022), Bryce Cartwight (2021) and Shannon Boyd (2022) are all on rich long-term deals but have all been dropped at some stage by Holbrook since his arrival this season.
The club will lose Jai Arrow to South Sydney next season but gain Melbourne Storm forward Tino Fa’asuamaleaui on a three-year deal.
Holbrook said he was content with the squad currently at his disposal but comfortable with the club’s move on the Brisbane powerhouse.
“You need big money signings, you need your hard working guys that aren’t on big money as well. It’s a mixture,” Holbrook said of the scope of the Fifita deal.
“Recruitment’s ongoing, it’s not just today or it won’t be done when Dave makes his decision. It’s ongoing all the time … it’s part of the job, there’s always something happening in that area.”
Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold was reluctant to fuel the conversation when pressed on Thursday, saying he felt uncomfortable with how the issue had played out in public.
He said there was “no news” but acknowledged the gravity of the situation his young prop was faced with.
“Some clubs might go rogue and make a crazy offer to some young players, but you don’t know what every club is working towards or what they have in their cap and what their planning is,” he said.
“So I’d hate to make comment or pass judgement on what other clubs are doing.
“But any player in the game that gets offered a lot of money, there’s certain scrutiny and pressure that comes with that.”
© AAP 2020