The Tigers forward pack has been decimated by injury in 2o11, and now, with only enough players to practically field their starting and rotation props, Andrew Fifita has vowed to lead from the front and guide the pack through this tough injury period.
As the Tigers face the Broncos this week, Fifita has vowed to play strongly against the very player that he idolised as a young player, and still does, in Sam Thaiday.
Much like players become cult heroes at their clubs for various reasons, Fifita is garnering the same tag, for his huge fends on a regular basis.
“Sheensy asked me during the off-season to keep the kilos down,” said Fifita.
“He wanted me around 110kg so I could get my match fitness and speed up. I couldn’t play as many minutes because I was too heavy, but I’ve gone from 119kg to 109kg.
“Everyone knows I like fending, and Sheensy said that while in my own half I need to play direct.
“But in the opposition half I can go for my life and, if I get near their tryline, try and throw 20 blokes off my shoulders.
“Benji [Marshall] is known for his step and flick pass, and my one is like [Greg] Inglis where I try and fend.”
In regards to his match-up with Broncos prop Sam Thaiday, Fifita is looking forward to it and says:
“Sam is a player I always looked up to, he’s an aggressive player who has worn the Queensland and Australian jumper.
“It will be a good match-up for me, a good opportunity to show selectors out there I can be better than a player like him on the night.
“Hopefully I can be better than him on Friday and one day be in his [representative] position.”
Whilst the 22-year old prop is eligible for Origin for NSW, he knows that he is still a few years off usurping current props.