Sharks prop Andrew Fifita.

Why Fifita won't be watching Origin

He is ineligible to play in it and won't be able to bear watching his former NSW teammates in the upcoming State of Origin series.

And looking at Andrew Fifita's stats of 15 hit-ups and 141 metres per game in the Telstra Premiership, not to mention his 31 tackle-busts and 33 off-loads, you can see why Queenslanders might feel like dancing in the street.

"If they let me play games one and three I'd be happy to play," Fifita said jokingly.

"But my decision stands."

Origin II is on the stand-alone weekend (June 23-24). The Saturday Pacific Test games at Campbelltown feature Tonga against Samoa and PNG taking on Fiji. Then on Sunday at ANZ Stadium the Blues host the Queensland Maroons.

Fifita decided in April to pledge his continued loyalty to Tonga, effectively drawing the curtain on his Origin career after 10 games with the Blues.

He withdrew from the Australian World Cup squad last October to play in the bright red jerseys for Mate Ma'a and made it all the way to the semi-finals. Joining him in that quest was Parramatta centre Michael Jennings, who has 18 appearances for NSW under his belt. 

Sharks prop Andrew Fifita.
Sharks prop Andrew Fifita. ©Robb Cox/NRL Photos

"It's about growing our national game and we can do that coming off the back of what we did last year," Fifita said.

"Australia did win the World Cup but I think most of the talking has been about how well Tonga did and the other Pacific Islander teams. We grew the crowds, we created atmosphere.

"I really hope our game coming up in June has that same kind of atmosphere."

As for Origin I on June 6 and Origin III on July 11, Fifita will keep away from the television.

"I can't really watch it," he said.

"I don't really watch games anyway but Origin would be hard because I'd have it in the back of my mind that I could have had the chance to play. But in saying that I know I made the right decision."

And the big prop forward is helping local school children make good decisions. He spoke to NRL.com after helping author and Wollongong PhD student Sarah Tillott promote her book 'Game On'. It teaches kids about resilience, mental health, and good social interaction.

Fifita has become a leader himself at the Sharks, taking over as skipper with injuries to regular co-captains Paul Gallen (knee) and Wade Graham (hamstring), while usual stand-in skipper Luke Lewis (calf) has also been absent.

"I'm just trying to play my part in the team," Fifita said.

"It's about being in the moment and doing what's best for the team. Sometimes I wish I could be the fancy one, like a winger, and just jump over and score the tries. But I like doing the tough stuff to get us up there."

The 28-year-old didn't covet the captaincy, especially with the Sharks seemingly jinxed with injuries to captains.

Sharks back-rower Wade Graham.
Sharks back-rower Wade Graham. ©Robb Cox/NRL Photos

"I don't really want that initial next to my name. We're like c-cursed at the moment," he said.

"To be honest I told Flanno [coach Shane Flanagan] I hope I see Gal's name this weekend because at the moment the 'c' has been dropping our players.

"But I am one of the leaders here when the other guys aren't there. I guess I have some status in the team so I just want to keep up my end.

"My job is easy. I just let the halves do all the talking and I do my job. Then I just tell the guys to relax and keep positive. Honestly, I would give up the captaincy just to have those three players back."