WAKEFIELD TRINITY’S Dave Fifita last night soared to the top of the Steve Prescott Man of Steel leaderboard and insisted: “I haven’t reached my peak yet.”
It is a sobering thought for the rest of Super League who are already struggling to deal with the giant Australian prop’s rampaging style.
He was unplayable again for much of Friday’s 30-20 win over Wigan Warriors and, unsurprisingly, earned all three points in the Man of Steel voting taking his tally for the season to 13.
It is no surprise Wakefield – who have major injury problems ahead of Thursday’s derby at Castleford Tigers – hope to imminently conclude a new deal for the 29-year-old.
“It is a great feeling to be recognised outside of Wakefield and by former legends of the game,” said Fifita, after replacing Blake Austin and James Roby at the top.
“It’s just good to be playing consistent footy. Last year I was up and down with a few injuries but it’s a good feeling to be playing like this now – and a good time to be coming off contract!
“I’m on top but I haven’t reached my peak yet.”
Remarkably, Fifita, who weighs almost 19 stone, played the entire 80 minutes against Wigan and says it has been a target given the club’s pack – full of sizeable forwards – had been questioned about their ability to cope with reduced interchanges this term.
“It is the first time I’ve done a full 80 for any professional team apart from when I was playing Under 20s but I was a back-row or centre back then,” he explained.
“But as a front-row that’s the first time. It was a goal of mine in pre-season especially as all the media were giving us criticism saying we couldn’t play big minutes as we’re all big boys and things like that.
“We discussed it as ‘middles’; no one gave us a chance but I think people have now realised you can play this game with a big middle pack.”
Meanwhile, Trinity are reeling after losing captain Jacob Miller (knee) and fellow half-back Danny Brough (broken hand) for six and seven weeks respectively.
Ben Reynolds, yet to play a Super League game for Wakefield, has been recalled from his loan at Featherstone Rovers.
Centre Reece Lyne (knee) and hooker Kyle Wood (ankle) hope to be fit to resume at Castleford while Wigan’s Sam Powell has been banned for two games for the challenge that saw England centre Lyne need to be helped off.