David Fifita at RedHill.Pic Annette Dew
David Fifita at RedHill.Pic Annette Dew

Lockyer: Fifita could walk out on Broncos

It's important the Broncos take a collective focus into their must-win game against the Bulldogs.

I don't believe the Broncos are far away from a victory. Their first 30 minutes against the Warriors last week showcased energy and good line-speed and the challenge is maintaining that intensity for 80 minutes.

The Broncos players have changed a few things this week at training and there seems to be more ownership around owning the performance.

They are playing at home, they have some crowds back and they are staring at a seventh straight defeat so there's every incentive for the players to stand up on Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium.

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Victory isn’t too far away for the Broncos, writes Darren Lockyer. Picture: NRL Photos.
Victory isn’t too far away for the Broncos, writes Darren Lockyer. Picture: NRL Photos.

The team has had a positive week of training and it brings confidence when you enjoy your preparation, but they need to be prepared for a real arm wrestle against a Canterbury team with a proud club history that doesn't give up.

The Broncos can't look at the table and treat the Bulldogs as last-placed battlers. The Dogs showed real intensity against Souths last week and Canterbury display a lot of the characteristics of their coach Dean Pay, who played with toughness and spirit throughout his career.

The Bulldogs will rip in with their forwards and with both sides having forgotten the art of winning this season, it comes down to mental toughness and holding your nerve under pressure.

Brisbane's halves, Anthony Milford and Brodie Croft, have come under pressure in recent weeks and it's important they match the control that Kieran Foran will adopt with Canterbury's attack.

The Broncos have been outplayed by some of the best game managers in the NRL. Picture: Getty Images.
The Broncos have been outplayed by some of the best game managers in the NRL. Picture: Getty Images.

In recent weeks, the Broncos have been beaten in the second half by opponents with capable game managers. Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly), Mitchell Pearce (Newcastle) and Blake Green (Warriors) all turned the screws on Brisbane when it mattered and their teams ultimately prevailed.

If Brisbane's forwards can come out with good shape, intent and be aggressive with the football, that will give Milford and Croft more time and space to control and own the result.

While I'm confident of a good performance, attitude is everything tonight. The Dogs will relish a scrap and if the Broncos aren't willing to grind it out, it will be a real challenge.

As for the other issue at the Broncos this week - the contract saga swirling around David Fifita - I have felt for him as he sits down to decide his future.

It's a difficult process when you have got family considerations, two competing clubs offering life-changing contracts and multiple voices in your ear.

Dave has worked hard to get to this point in his career and there is huge money on the table for him from the Titans.

David Fifita is still in the embryonic stages of his career. Picture: Annette Dew.
David Fifita is still in the embryonic stages of his career. Picture: Annette Dew.


 

I can understand if Dave is changing his mind about whether to stay at the Broncos or test himself at the Titans. At 20, he is young and this is the first time he has gone through a contract negotiation with so much money at stake, so it's not an easy process.

The fact it's only a one-year deal simplifies the issue somewhat because he won't be signing a five-year contract which locks him in for half his career.

I'm wishing and hopeful at the same time that we can keep Dave. It's very hard to compete against the Titans' offer so we will wait and see what plays out.

Given he is in the embryonic stages of his career, the big pay days will be there for Fifita for years to come. He is a super talent that will only get better as he develops with more experience.

He and his family have talked it through for a while now. The best way to arrive at the right answer is to take your time and consider all options on the table.

Originally published as Lockyer: Fifita could walk out on Broncos



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