Revealed: Fifita rejects Souths’ mind-blowing offer
Souths coach Wayne Bennett was so determined to get David Fifita, the Rabbitohs offered the Broncos ace a record $1.2 million-a-season to lure him to Redfern.
Blindside can reveal the extraordinary package from the Pride of the League that would have made the off-contract Fifita, who turned 20 on Tuesday, the highest-paid forward in the NRL.
It has been reported that retired Souths legend Sam Burgess recently met with Fifita to spruik the merits of joining the Rabbitohs, who were armed with a five-year contract worth around $5 million.
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But the offer was more lucrative than first thought, with the Rabbitohs prepared to pay $1.2 million for Fifita in one of the most head-spinning deals in rugby league's 112-year history.
No other forward has come close to sparking such a bidding frenzy. Cowboys wrecking ball Jason Taumalolo's 10-year deal is worth around $1 million a season, while Storm skipper Cameron Smith has been in the million-dollar club for quite some time.
But Fifita could have been in a financial league of his own at Redfern. Incredibly, after talking with Burgess, he politely declined Souths' overtures - suggesting it will take a miracle to prise him from Red Hill.
The Titans have formally expressed interest in Fifita but the Broncos are supremely confident they will keep the Queensland Origin star on their books in 2021.
THE HOOK WHISPERER
Watch out Bradley Stubbs- former Broncos coach Anthony Griffin has reinvented himself as a coach whisperer.
"Hook" Griffin has launched a new career path, offering coaching and mentoring for sports professionals and businesses.
Griffin coached the Broncos from 2011-14 before being sacked to make way for Wayne Bennett's return.
He entered the NRL again as head coach of Penrith from 2016-18 before being sacked, arguably unfairly, by Phil Gould.
Griffin has now opted to go down a different career path, offering personal coaching and mentoring as well as group sessions and public speaking.
Griffin preaches about the importance of building resilience and how to foster leaders.
His clients range from major hotel chains to mining companies, and he is still involved in rugby league circles.
Coach whispering is the new fad in sport, with Stubbs famously guiding Queensland to a 2-1 State of Origin series loss last year.
Griffin has launched a website and Twitter account to spruik his new venture, and will host a business leadership breakfast in Brisbane next week.
PUNTERS GO COLD ON BOMBERS
The Queensland fans have spoken. It's time for the NRL's 17th team to be based at ... drum roll please ... Redcliffe.
In the wake of revelations ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys is keen to expand the NRL, The Courier-Mail held an online poll last week asking readers to vote for which team should be added to a proposed 17-team competition.
Redcliffe were resounding winners, claiming 37 per cent of votes. Ipswich's western-corridor bid was second with 20 per cent, followed by the Brisbane Bombers (17 per cent), who are keen to sign Craig Bellamyand recently held talks with the Storm super coach.
Central Queensland attracted nine per cent of votes, with the Sunshine Coast (8 per cent) and the North Sydney Bears (6 per cent) receiving little love from fans.
The Redcliffe Dolphins have one of the most recognised brands in Australian sport and are backed by a wealthy leagues club. It is estimated a new NRL club would require about $20 million in funds to be operational if the NRL decides to expand in 2023.
FUSING BRISBANE'S SPINE
The Broncos' feeder-club player allocation has undergone a shake-up as Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold builds his play-making spine for the future.
Boom young guns Tom Dearden, Cory Paix and Tesi Niu will all be placed with the same Intrust Super Cup side this season, Souths Logan Magpies, to ensure they build some cohesion with a view to joining forces in the NRL one day.
Last season, the trio were scattered throughout Brisbane's feeder clubs. Dearden played halfback at Wynnum Manly, Paix was placed with Redcliffe, while Niu was asked to cut his teeth at fullback at the Magpies.
But in 2020, the triumvirate will be brought together to form a "Super Spine" at Souths Logan.
Dearden, 18, will call the shots in the halves, Niu, 18, will start in the No.1 jumper and Paix, 20, will operate at hooker, the position for which he is being groomed in the NRL.
Seibold has huge plans for the three young guns and wants them to develop an understanding as soon as possible. It is understood Redcliffe were bitterly disappointed to lose Paix but such is life at an NRL affiliate.
NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN
There is a new sheriff coming to the Cowboys to replace multi-millionaire chairman Laurence Lancini.
Blindside can exclusively reveal Lancini is set to pass the baton to Lewis Ramsay, his current deputy chair, when the property tycoon walks away from the Cowboys in the coming weeks.
Ramsay is highly regarded by the Cowboys board and has a long history in the game. He started in marketing at the Broncos in 1995 during Wayne Bennett's golden years before joining the Cowboys as a commercial manager in 2001.
Ramsay has had an array of roles outside rugby league, including a three-year stint as general manager of News Corp, publishers of The Courier-Mail.
Ramsay is expected to be promoted next month following the official resignation of Lancini, who will depart after the Cowboys' round-one clash against the Broncos at their shiny new home North Queensland Stadium.
The popular Lancini is one of the code's most respected administrators and will leave a gaping hole in the Cowboys' ranks.
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