NEWCASTLE Knights have David Fifita, the twin of Sharks and NSW enforcer Andrew, in their sights.
The Fifita brothers were in Newcastle on Monday and dined with Knights coach Nathan Brown and football manager Darren Mooney at the Northern Star Cafe.
The siblings, who were joined by player agent Warwick Wright, have a strong and long association with Mooney, dating back to their time at the Wests Tigers.
The Knights missed No.1 recruitment target for 2017, Greg Bird, and although they have signed Jamie Buhrer (Manly) and Rory Kostjacyn (North Queensland), they are desperate to add grunt to their pack.
David, 27, has an option to return to English Super League club Wakefield Trinity, where he played the second half of last season, but is understood to be keen on a return to the NRL.
Andrew has two-seasons remaining on his contract at the Sharks, whom he helped lead to a history-making premiership, but has stated his desire to one day reunite with his twin brother.
“We are certainly looking to bring someone with experience and a point of difference into our forward pack,” Knights chief executive Matt Gidley said. “I want to be really clear, Andrew is a contracted player at the Sharks. David’s manager Warwick Wright is based in Newcastle and boys came to have a chat with him and also catch up with Darren and Nathan. David has the same physical traits as his brother. It is only a conversation at this stage but we are certainly looking outside the square for someone who can come in with a real point of difference, can improve our team and bring a different dynamic.”
Andrew last week was “ready to walk away” from rugby league after he was controversially left out of the Australian squad for the Four Nations tournament.
The marquee prop’s omission from the Kangaroos was due to an ongoing NRL Intergrity Unit investigation involving his friendship with Kieran Loveridge, the one-punch killer of teenager Thomas Kelly. Loveridge is serving 10 years for manslaughter in Cessnock jail.
Fifita, outstanding in the Sharks thrilling 14-12 grand final win over Melbourne on October 2, was also controversially ignored for the Clive Churchill medal.
David spoke out last week against the NRL and labeled the treatment of his brother as a “disgrace”.
“He was robbed of Dally M prop of the year, the Clive Churchill Medal in the grand final and robbed of an Australian jersey,” he said.
David was released by the Sharks in June to join Wakefield, where he played 16 games, highlighted by two tries in the 8-16 win over Huddersfield to seal the Wildcats a place in the Challenge Cup semi-final.
Gidley said David Fifita, who made 19 appearances in two years at Cronulla, was among a number of options the Knights were considering. Cronulla veteran Chris Heighington and unwanted Manly prop Josh Starling have also been linked to the club.
“We have obviously got the Safiti boys, who are going to be great long-term players,” Gidley said. “A player like David Fifita certainly brings a point of difference but there are a lot of different options. We are talking to as many people as we can before going through the process of making offers and entering negotiations. The dinner on Monday was informal and a chance for Nathan to meet David and see if he falls into his plans.”