Triple M’s and Broncos legend Gorden Tallis has hit back at critics of David Fifita, declaring the Titans’ big-money back-rower was partly held back last season due to the inexperience of the young Gold Coast squad.
Fifita, who’s now in the final year of his four-year contract worth a reported $1.2 million per season, endured a lacklustre 2022 campaign, which at times saw the 22-year-old coming off the interchange, and at one stage forced into the centres.
While Tallis acknowledged that Fifita has plenty to figure out, he believes veteran recruit Kieran Foran must take on the responsibility of “bossing him around” for the Titans to unlock the forward’s potential.
“The thing with Dave and just watching him, there’s got to be a boss,” Tallis said on LiSTNR’s Footy Talk League Podcast.
“It’s either Dave, and he owns his own game, or he gets Kieran Foran. I think Kieran Foran’s going to help him.
“With all those other playmakers, they’re young and they’re not bossing him around enough… he (Fifita) can’t be running the show.”
Tallis said he hopes Fifita will have to adjust his style of play by moving away from schoolboy tactics.
“What worked for him all of his career, and when I say all of his career, all of his schoolboy career – just doesn’t work,” Tallis added.
“He’s got to find a new way, and a new way is getting a combination with his seven, six, one and nine. He’s got to work and they’ve got to help to him out… and I’m sure they’re working on it.
“Dave’s got to stop wanting the schoolboy football that he’s used to. He’s used to just grabbing the ball and doing his own thing. It doesn’t work at this level.”