Ben Hunt welcomes Dragons' interest in out-of-favour Sharks prop Andrew Fifita
Dragons captain Ben Hunt has welcomed the club's rumoured interest in out-of-favour Sharks forward Andrew Fifita.
Fifita has found himself on the outer at Cronulla having been left out of John Morris' NRL side and named in the club's feeder team Newton Jets for a third consecutive week to start the season.
According to a Sydney Morning Herald report, St. George Illawarra have identified Fifita as a potential signing for as early as this season.
Dragons coach Anthony Griffin, who has coached Fifita with the Tongan national side, was recently spotted chatting to the former Origin and Kangaroos rep before a Dragons-Newtown reserve grade game.
Fifita's demise from the Sharks' first-grade side comes despite reports out of Cronulla's pre-season claiming he was in some of the best shape of his life, having dropped as much as 15kg.
It comes after the 31-year-old battled a chronic knee issue for the majority of last season, which limited him to just 12 games for the Sharks in 2020.
It's widely believed Fifita's best years are behind him, but it was only two years ago the Tongan international was branded the most damaging prop in the NRL.
Speaking on SEN, Hunt said the addition of Fifita to the Red V would significantly bolster their squad.
“I definitely think he could play a role, I think he’d be a good asset to the team,” Hunt said on SEN 1170 Breakfast.
“He’d bring new assets to the team that we don’t really have a lot of.
“He’s obviously really big and he’s got a good off-load, he’s pretty mobile for a big boy.
“I think he’d be an asset to any team.”
Fifita is currently earning close to $850,000 a season at the Sharks and remains contracted until the end of 2022. It's reported the Dragons are yet to have tabled Cronulla an official offer.
Confirming the club's interest, The Australian's Brent Read said on Fox League's NRL360 how Fifita's contract would be negotiated between the two rival clubs was the only sticking point.
“He’s on massive money after this year so obviously the Dragons wouldn’t be able to fork out the whole lot for what he’s on,” Read said.
“But they’re certainly watching the situation. I think there’s genuine interest there from the Dragons in Andrew Fifita if they can make a deal work.
“I’m told Andrew is in a really good place at the moment. Even though he’s playing reserve grade, he’s not kicking stones, he’s been really good around training, really positive.
“There’s a bit of water to pass under the bridge before it happens and there’s some hurdles to clear but there’s a genuine interest there.”
With Cowboys enforcer Francis Molo his latest acquisition for next season, Griffin has toiled away at strengthening the Dragons' forward pack since his arrival at the end of last year.
The new Red V boss has already added Poasa Fa'amausili and Daniel Alvaro this year, with both middle forwards starting life in their new colours strongly off the bench.