Decade deal: Titanic contract to make Fifita a ‘lifer’
Brisbane are under siege to retain David Fifita with Titans culture chief Mal Meninga tabling a club-record $5 million contract and ready to up the ante with a stunning lifetime deal for the Broncos superstar.
News Corp can reveal the Titans have put together a $1 million-a-season, five-year package - the richest deal in their history - as Meninga launches one final attempt to poach Fifita from Red Hill.
But the Titans are prepared to go even harder to make Fifita an offer he cannot refuse, with Meninga open to discussing a Jason Taumalolo-style, lifetime deal that would deliver the Queensland Origin star to the Gold Coast for 10 years.
Revelations of Meninga's relentless pursuit of Fifita will have Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold on tenterhooks in a spicy preamble to Saturday night's Broncos-Titans derby at Suncorp Stadium.
Brisbane recruitment-and-retention chiefs have privately conceded they cannot beat the Titans in a bidding war for Fifita and now Meninga is going for the jugular to pull off the biggest signing in Gold Coast's history.
It can be revealed Meninga has had a series of private negotiations with the off-contract Fifita, most recently last month while the 20-year-old was recovering from knee surgery.
Fifita's re-signing with Brisbane for 2021 was considered a fait accompli, but the Broncos' form crisis, coupled with savage criticism of Seibold, has left the matchwinning forward concerned at the club's direction.
The Broncos, due to salary-cap constraints, cannot afford more than $700,000 a season.
That means Fifita stands to sacrifice a staggering $1.5 million over a five-year period if he rejects the Titans' bid and stays loyal to the Broncos.
In February, the Titans made a preliminary move for Fifita, discussing a four-year deal worth $3.2 million.
But with the Broncos desperately juggling salary-cap numbers, Meninga is turning up the heat, revisiting Fifita armed with a mega deal to make the Brisbane forward the Titans' first $1 million forward.
Former Broncos skipper Gorden Tallis, now a Titans ambassador, urged Fifita to consider quitting Brisbane to help turn the Gold Coast into an NRL force.
"It would be a great move for Fifita," Tallis said.
"When you get a young kid that is so good it can be a game-changer for your club because everyone comes along with it.
"It can take only one signing to change things.
"Glenn Lazarus at the Melbourne Storm set the culture. Greg Inglis went to South Sydney.
"Sam Burgess went to a struggling South Sydney at a young age and ended up winning a premiership.
"Johnathan Thurston was the same at the Cowboys. Ask him which grand final win means more to him - playing in a star-studded Bulldogs team (2004) or getting his own team across the line (2015) at the Cowboys.
"Dave Fifita has to think about how he wants to be challenged and remembered."
While the Titans have tabled five years, Meninga will discuss a longer-term deal if Fifita wants that.
The Cowboys and Manly respectively signed Taumalolo and Daly Cherry-Evans to lifetime contracts and Meninga rates Fifita so highly that option is on the table.
Originally published as Decade deal: Titanic contract to make Fifita a 'lifer'