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In-demand Fifita stars in NRL trial loss

In-demand NSW and Australian prop Andrew Fifita raised his asking price with a typically barnstorming display in Cronulla's 28-22 trial loss to Wests Tigers on Saturday night.
In-demand Fifita stars in NRL trial loss
by AAP

By Wayne Cousins

SYDNEY, Feb 22 AAP - In-demand NSW and Australian prop Andrew Fifita raised his asking price with a typically barnstorming display in Cronulla's 28-22 trial loss to Wests Tigers on Saturday night.

Fifita, who is off contract at the end of the season and reportedly in the sights of NRL rivals South Sydney and the Sydney Roosters, reminded everyone why he's the game's most prized signature by scoring the Sharks' first try with a trademark fend of Adam Blair.

He also had a second try denied for being offside, and laid on a try for Sam Tagataese with a right-handed flick pass in a 65 minute effort.

Despite the strong interest, Fifita said he was in no rush to weigh up the offers.

"I've just changed managers so I will wait until he gets it all on paper," Fifita said.

"I will have a look at them and do what is best for my family. The Sharks have been very good to me and made me into the person I am today.

"I arrived here as part of a package deal. I will always be thankful to them no matter what I decide to do because they got me to where I am today."

While Fifita's form is encouraging for the Sharks, coach Peter Sharp will nervously await results on a suspected fractured cheekbone suffered by halfback Jeff Robson.

The steady half, and foil for flashy playmaker Todd Carney, faces six weeks on the sidelines if scans confirm the Sharks' fears.

The Sharks, missing key men in Paul Gallen, Luke Lewis, Carney and Beau Ryan, enjoyed the better of possession in the opening 20 minutes with several attacking raids inside the Wests Tigers quarter including halfback Jeff Robson losing the ball over the line, before picking up a jaw injury.

Fifita's try, and an 80 metre intercept try to rising Wests Tigers halfback Luke Brooks, were the only highlights in a scrappy first half that saw the scores locked at 6-all at the break.

Cronulla took a 10-6 lead when veteran winger Eric Grothe Jnr defused a 10-6 lead off a cross-field bomb by five-eighth Daniel Holdsworth in the 45th minute.

Wests Tigers' second try came against the run of play when winger Marika Koroibete swooped on a grubber kick to race 85 metres to score. Pat Richards converted for a 12-10 lead to the visitors.

From there Wests Tigers, who were missing a host of NRL stars themselves, produced some of their trademark razzle dazzle resulting in consecutive tries to Chris Lawrence, Richards, and Keith Lulia for a 28-10 lead after 67 minutes.

Fifita then put second-rower Tagataese over before Nathan Stapleton scored from a knock-down in the dying minutes for the 28-22 scoreline.


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