FIFITA FIFIT SAYS DON’T DON DO IT
ON a rugby league field, NSW Origin forward Andrew Fifita’s greatest strength is that he often acts, before he thinks.
The run. The step. The fend. The shove. The pass.
Little thought, just pure instinct.
Even his Cronulla and Blues teammates joke that although they’re standing beside him in the heat of battle, they have little clue as to what the 126kg giant might do next.
Off the field Fifita is beginning to think before he acts.
Describing the process as the “most painful thing he’s ever done”, Fifita, 27, has commenced the removal of an almost 10-year-old tattoo from his neck.
Why? Because he fears the highly visible 10cm-long inking could derail his postfootball ambition.
Studying a diploma to become a juvenile justice worker, focused on teenagers with mental health issues, Fifita is also encouraging others to avoid neck tattoos — even his own family.
The “Forever family” neck tattoo is a tradition among Fifita’s brothers and relatives.
However, despite being the same age at which Fifita first received the tattoo, his 18year-old foster brother has been told by the highly rated Blues forward to resist going ahead with the artwork.
“He’s just turned 18, so like the majority of our family have at that age, he wants to get it,’’ Fifita told The Sunday
Telegraph. “I said to him, ‘Just wait and as soon as my neck tattoo is gone, we’ll go together and get it done somewhere hidden’.
“I’m getting rid of it. I have to get rid of it because I guess maturity takes time to come your way. I’d love to keep it, especially because my brothers have got the same message.
“It’s important to our family. No matter what, they always come ‘first’.
“But where I want to work after football, with troubled kids, it’s not a good look. “I’m really focused on that. “I want the kids to look at me seriously, so that they can take their own lives seriously.’’
Fifita has received two rounds of treatment at Leichhardt’s Vanish Skin Clinic, his most recent visit just days before entering NSW camp last Tuesday.
“It’s seriously a minute of work each session, but, my goodness, it’s the most painful minute you’ll experience,’’ Fifita said.
“It hurts so much more than actually getting a tattoo.
“For a tattoo I would sit there all day and get it. They hurt, but this is another level.
“I suppose it shows how much I want to make sure I give myself every opportunity after football.’’
It’s clear that ahead of becoming a father for a third time with wife Nikki, Fifita, who doesn’t shy from the fact that he’s had his off-field issues in the past, is making giant steps off the field.
And, undeniably, helping his football.
For example, a visit to the Ronald McDonald facility at the Children’s Hospital last Monday to visit a sick young boy was how Fifita’s Origin build-up began. “I’ve said it before, you’ve got to give to get,’’ Fifita said. “I believe in what you give, you’ll get even more back.’’
On Wednesday night, Fifita and every NSW supporter only want one thing — victory over Queensland, the second Origin series win in 12 years.
“Unlike a tattoo, those are memories you could never erase,’’ Fifita said.
AFTER Andrew Fifita, his wife Nikki and their kids on Instagram. ‘Forever family’ tattoo being removed. DURING