November 27, 2021


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Surprise twist in blockbuster $5.5m signing

3 min read
Tino Fa'asuamaleaui is so far a better signing for the Titans than more expensive marquee...

Tino Fa'asuamaleaui is so far a better signing for the Titans than more expensive marquee man David Fifita, rugby league great Peter Sterling says.

Fa'asuamaleaui and Fifita joined Gold Coast this season on reported contracts of $2 million and $3.5 million respectively; about $670,000 per season against nearly $1.2 million.

Both are Queensland State of Origin forwards of almost identical age; 21, with Fa'asuamaleaui born nine days before Fifita.

Ex-Broncos star Fifita has generated greater hype but former Storm hardman Fa'asuamaleaui actually looks the better buy, according to Sterling, and could be the club's future captain.

"It's a dual signing and it's wonderful, because they're young men and they're only going to get better," Sterling said on Sterlo's Wrap.

"At this stage, and it may well be the case for quite a while, there is more to Tino's game than there is to David Fifita.

"David's a damaging ball-runner and we saw he terrorised the edge of the Brisbane Broncos' defence. But Tino, in so many different areas, he's quite inspirational, the way that he plays."

Sterling highlighted a play in last Friday's Titans vs Broncos game where Fa'asuamaleaui chased down a kick and stopped Brisbane fullback Jamayne Isaako dead with a strong tackle to force a drop-out.

"Those kinds of things, they change games, or they continue the momentum that the side has built," Sterling said.

"I think he could prove to be the most significant signing that the Titans have made for a number of years and may well be into the future.

"I heard somebody say that he's a future captain. I can see that. He's a firebrand, he's aggressive, he leads with his actions.

"David Fifita's outstanding but whatever you paid for Tino on the Coast, it's money well spent, no doubt."

Fifita scored two tries in a win over his old Brisbane side on Friday, running 136 metres in 65 minutes of game time on the left edge. Fa'asuamaleaui played 54 minutes in the middle of the field and ran 139 metres.

While the powerful pair are taking up a significant fraction of Gold Coast's salary cap, Sterling lauded the club for finding value in other positions.

He said that cut-price wingers Anthony Don and Corey Thompson had been excellent thus far for the Titans.

NRL Highlights: Titans scorch Broncos at home

"When you talk about Tino and David Fifita, you've probably spent some money there but the salary cap is about getting value for money," Sterling said.

"I think they have got value for money there, to some degree. Where they really have got it is their unfashionable wingers.

"Anthony Don, he's been fantastic for them season after season. I think he's their leading try-scorer all-time (85 tries from 145 games).

"A great kick there for Erin Clark to score next to the posts [against the Broncos], a left foot kick. He's the kind of player who will get over the line … a very, very good finisher.

"And Corey Thompson, even his time at the Tigers and when he went to the English Super League, he's always had a little bit of class about him.

"One of those wingers, a little bit like a David Nofoaluma; diminutive but very rarely the first defender actually nails him.

"They don't spend a lot of money on their wings but boy, they get some value out of them and that's the art of the salary cap."

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