Sharks prop Andrew Fifita is on the verge of signing a lucrative deal to join Canterbury-Bankstown at the end of the 2014 season. Copyright: NRL Photos/Robb Cox. Credit: Copyright: NRL Photos/Robb Cox. Copyright: Copyright: NRL Photos/Robb Cox.
Cronulla's seemingly never-ending ASADA scandal is believed to be one of the major factors that will sway prop Andrew Fifita to announce a move to the Bulldogs on Tuesday.
The reigning Dally M Prop of the Year is reportedly ready to leave the Shire and sign a lucrative four-year deal to join what will be a star-studded forward pack.
CEO Raelene Castle admitted the club was interested in the Kangaroo international as recently as last Saturday, joining rivals South Sydney, the Roosters, the NSW Waratahs and, of course, Cronulla.
"He is a quality player and we have spoken to his management about his availability," Castle told The Australian.
Aiden Tolman, Sam Kasiano, Tony Williams and highly rated young pup David Klemmer, who also signed a rich $1 million deal to stay in Belmore last season, are all already on the books next season. But securing the prized signature of Fifita would instantly elevate the Bulldogs back into the premiership elite.
The caveat for Bulldogs fans will be the prospect of losing arguably their most important player in Englishman James Graham.
The 28-year-old is off-contract at the end of the season, and with the club also set to re-sign skipper Michael Ennis and centre Josh Morris, Graham could be forced to look elsewhere to extend his career in the NRL or return to the Super League.
The loss of Fifita would be a devastating blow for the Sharks, who are still reeling from the fallout over Shane Flanagan's 12-month ban for his role over the club's supplements program in 2011.