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REAL NRL: Fifita eyes off Tigers return

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If things are travelling well for The Entrance Tigers now, they’re about to get bigger and better this weekend.

On the back of five consecutive victories in Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL), including a round eight 46-18 thumping of the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs, the Denton Engineering Cup side will welcome former NRL and Super League star David Fifita back to the fold for the all-important clash with the Maitland Pickers at No 1 Sportsground on Saturday 27 May.

The 33-year-old, in his inaugural season with the Jamy Forbes-coached Tigers, represented the Cronulla Sharks on 19 occasions before a stellar career in England with Wakefield Trinity, which netted 141 appearances.

But, the twin brother of Andrew, is itching for a return to the playing paddock.

“My time’s been ‘so far, so good’,” Fifita said.

“However, I’d like to be out there a bit more.

“While some byes the past couple of weeks were slightly annoying for the boys, it’s allowed me to deal with my injury.

“Now, I’m good to go… and looking forward to having some fun.”

Fifita, a powerhouse front-rower, admitted the standard of the Real NRL had “slightly surprised” him.

“The last occasion I played A grade was in the Penrith competition,” he said.

“And, this [Newcastle Rugby League] is just as hard and as tough as out there in western Sydney.

“I’ve only played a couple of matches [here].

“But, it doesn’t really matter where you play, the principles are the same.

“You always have to run harder and tackle harder than the other guys.

“If you run at anyone straight, you’re going to get smashed, it doesn’t matter if it’s NRL or park footy.”

With more than a decade of experience under his belt, Fifita said he was relishing his stint at The Entrance.

“It’s great with Forbesy and Pearl,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“And, everything’s coming along good.

“We had a slow start to the year… but, we’re finally hitting some form, finding out where the guys belong in their right positions and stuff like that.

“I’m really enjoying it.

“I like seeing the younger blokes getting an opportunity, too.

“However, we’re not taking any team lightly; where sides sit on the ladder doesn’t come into it.

“We boast big strong forwards and boys who know how to score tries… it’s just a matter of gelling as a unit.”

After collecting the scalps of the Lakes United Seagulls, South Newcastle Lions, Northern Hawks, Wyong Roos and the Bulldogs recently, the Tigers face the toughest test of all – the Pickers at Maitland.

But, Fifita has higher aspirations.

“Winning the comp, that’s the goal,” he said.

“We’ll always back ourselves.

“I believe we have the best pack in the Real NRL; we’re not afraid to use it.

“If we continue to lay the platform, I think that puts us in the frame.

“We’ve certainly shown that in recent matches.”

Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League

Denton Engineering Cup

Round eight results:

  • The Entrance Tigers d Kurri Kurri Bulldogs 46-18
  • Cessnock Goannas d Lakes United Seagulls 34-14
  • South Newcastle Lions d Wyong Roos 44-20
  • Maitland Pickers d Western Suburbs Rosellas 40-10
  • Northern Hawks d Central Newcastle Butcher Boys 38-6
  • Bye: Macquarie Scorpions

Round nine draw:

Saturday 27 May

  • 3pm: Lakes United Seagulls v Macquarie Scorpions (Cahill Oval)
  • 3pm: Maitland Pickers v The Entrance Tigers (Maitland No 1 Sportsground)
  • 3pm: Wyong Roos v Cessnock Goannas (Morry Breen Oval)

Sunday 28 May

  • 3pm: Central Newcastle Butcher Boys v Western Suburbs Rosellas (St John Oval)
  • 3pm: Northern Hawks v Kurri Kurri Bulldogs (Tomaree Sports Ground)
  • Bye: South Newcastle Lions

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