‘Fifita is our Artie!’
Prop’s barnstorming grand final draws comparisons to RLW Immortal
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.