NRL club having to fend off interest from other clubs for gun prop.
Cronulla Sharks interim-coach Peter Sharp says the club has a strong chance of retaining Andrew Fifita beyond his current deal despite the prop becoming one of the hottest prospects in the NRL.
The 24-year-old is off-contract at the end of this season and has been linked with moves to South Sydney to replace the departing Sam Burgess, who has signed a three-year deal with English Rugby Union club Bath.
However, after joining the club from the Wests Tigers, Fifita has undergone a dramatic rise in the ranks of the NRL’s best forwards, something Sharp says is down to the culture at Cronulla.
“All good players create interest when they are off-contract. We’re confident in keeping him,’’ Sharp said.
“His development has been extraordinary.
“He came here as a big, brash kid and grown as a person and into a very, very good player.
“He mixes with some seasoned campaigners here in Paul Gallen, Luke Lewis and Chris Heighington and that has had an effect on him as well.
“Gal has a real influence on the group and he is very close to Andrew and we’re hopeful that will keep him here.’’
While Manly are also said to be interested in Fifita, Sharp hopes the former Griffith junior can continue his upward growth as a player.
“He’s got that body shape that makes him hard to tackle and we think he is only going to get better and better,’’ he said.
“Every Test, every State of Origin, it all goes into the experience bucket and we expect him to be an even better player this year.’’