Boom young prop set to be come one of the richest players in the NRL.
When Andrew Fifita puts pen to paper with the Canterbury Bulldogs he will shatter all previous signing records for a front-rower in the history of the NRL.
The deal, which is quickly becoming the first kept secret in the code, is set be announced officially in the next 24 hours.
However, it appears that only a very drastic change of heart from the 24-year-old would see him stay with the Cronulla Sharks for, arguably, the best years of his career.
Fifita’s deal, tipped to be worth $850,000 a season for four years, has been able to be tabled by the Bulldogs thanks to the departure of Ben Barba to the Brisbane Broncos at the end of last season.
Barba’s move north meant the Dogs were $400,000 under the salary cap, and allowed them to offer the 24-year-old the biggest deal in the league.
NRL rules enable clubs with current cap space to front load future salaries, which is how the Roosters managed to recruit Sonny Bill Williams, James Maloney and Michael Jennings in a single swoop last year.
Canterbury were far from the only team chasing Fifita, with the Sydney Roosters, South Sydney Rabbitohs and Cronulla all desperate to have him on board.
Bulldogs CEO Raelene Castle remained tight-lipped when asked about if the deal had been done, and if it was a large as was being reported, how the club with such stars as James Graham and Sam Kasiano, already on their books.
“We have a couple of things to announce this week,” she said.
“We have some significant money to spend because we don’t have a fullback. The salary cap can be difficult to manage, but there are mechanisms in place to do certain things.”
The Sharks could be considered unlucky not to hang on to Fifita, with their deal just $50,000 a year shy of what Bulldogs have tabled, with the Cronulla side throwing in a car.
Cronulla’s deal of $750,000 base price, would have made him their most expensive player, with the Sutherland-based team getting a double piece of bad news, with up-and-coming hooker Michael Lichaa also set to head to Belmore from next year.