‘Fi­fita is our Ar­tie!’

Prop’s barn­storm­ing grand fi­nal draws com­par­isons to RLW Im­mor­tal

Rugby League Week - - News - BY JOEL GOULD

AN­DREW FI­FITA HAS BEEN likened to RLW Im­mor­tal Arthur Beetson by the greats of the game – and now the Sharks saviour has played like Big Ar­tie on the big­gest stage to score a pre­mier­ship-win­ning try of brute force and willpower to over­turn 50 years of rugby league his­tory.

His 69th-minute ef­fort to beat four Storm de­fend­ers will be re­played for­ever in The Shire.

Add to that his 39 tack­les and 24 runs for 190m and you have the com­plete prop-for­ward per­for­mance against one of the most feared packs on the planet.

Only days af­ter Steve Roach said in his RLW col­umn that Fi­fita re­minds him of Beetson with his straight run­ning, he un­leashes a run for the ages – straight and true.

“We were tired at that stage and we re­ally needed some­thing spe­cial, and Fi­fita de­liv­ered,” says vet­eran for­ward Chris Heigh­ing­ton.

“He had to show power and strength of char­ac­ter to get over, and I’m so proud he did.

“Fi­fita’s got the body shape of Arthur and the ball skills – and he can run fast, even though he’s in the shape of a keg. He can do it all, just like Ar­tie. He runs straight. He runs hard. He just kills it. “He is our Ar­tie.” The man him­self says he felt the sense of oc­ca­sion with the Sharks trail­ing 12-8, and was happy to take on the chal­lenge.

“Once I went down there ev­ery­body was look­ing at me and I thought I’d stuffed it up,” Fi­fita says.

“Then Mick En­nis gave me the nod. I gave him the nod and said,

‘I’m run­ning a lead and I’m run­ning it hard’. I wanted to make his­tory – to win the first grand fi­nal for the club. But to get that last try, in a grand fi­nal, is a great thrill.

“It’s the best achieve­ment of my life. I’m shell­shocked my­self. I got that win­ning try but we all dug deep . . . I could feel them all on the side­line, spurring me on.”

Fi­fita adds, “It’s a com­plete hon­our to be com­pared to Arthur. I was never a footy fan in my young days and it’s only in these last few years I’ve learned about all the greats like Ar­tie.”

A TRY FOR THE AGES An­drew Fi­fita shows su­per­hu­man strength to carry a posse of Storm de­fend­ers over the line to score a mem­o­rable try that would have done Ar­tie Beetson (left) proud.

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