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Team effort needed to make Fifita a metre-eater again: Fogarty

Titans halfback Jamal Fogarty has dismissed the latest criticism surrounding multimillion-dollar marquee signing David Fifita after a fortnight of lacklustre performances from the rampaging forward. 

Fifita was kept quiet during losses to heavyweights South Sydney and Melbourne in recent weeks with just two tackle busts and a combined 138 running metres to his name.

His recent efforts against the Storm drew criticism from retired champion hooker Cameron Smith on Monday after he attended the match at Cbus Super Stadium.

"If I was his teammate or his coach, I'd be saying, 'We need far greater impact from you, not just because of your salary, but because you're an important part of the team'," Smith said on SEN radio.

"With an opportunity to play finals, he really needs to step up in the next two weeks."

Every try from Round 23

Fox League's Matthew Johns also weighed in, believing Fifita's defensive effort on Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster in the second half was a concern given the Titans' desperation to break a five-year finals drought. 

"Conversely, you see Tino [Fa'asuamaleaui] chase Munster to the death and that shows the difference on effort in that play," Johns said.

"If the Titans want to do anything – and they've come all this way with a chance to play finals football – then he's got to be eight out of 10 at least in the next two weeks."

Get Caught Up: Round 23 must-see moments

However, Fogarty leapt to the defence of Fifita and said the 21-year-old was in good spirits to make an impact in the next fortnight after a stellar season following his switch to the Titans this year. 

"Dave's always Dave, he's always happy and buzzing around training," Fogarty said.

"To be honest, Dave isn't the one losing us games, it's the 13 guys that are out there on the field and four guys on the bench.

"For him to cop all the criticism I think is pretty harsh. His stats this year are probably the best he's had in the NRL since he burst onto the scene.

"It's a team environment, we're not an individual sport like tennis or golf."

However, Fogarty conceded the side could do better at giving Fifita more opportunities to make an impact with the ball.

The hulking forward terrorised the Knights with three tries and eight tackle busts in round five with a repeat performance required on Thursday with their season on the line.

"From winger to winger if we're running hard and finding our fronts and get a quick play-the-ball then we all know what Dave can do with a bit of time and space," Fogarty said.

Titans make Storm pay for mistake early

"But when everyone else is getting suffocated and dominated we can't just throw the ball to Dave and expect him to do something.

"We've all got to play a part and that's running hard and finding our front. We're a hard-working team.

"We don't individualise or rely one someone to do something special, there are 13 players on the park at once. We can all do our role and it will go a long way for our team."

The Titans are expected to have representative prop Moeaki Fotuaika back for the important clash but Kevin Proctor (shoulder) is in doubt with an AC joint issue.

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