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'Come Origin time, there’s no friends on the field'

Dear Queenslanders,

Being a Queenslander means everything to me.

Being a young kid, looking at the TV and watching some of the greats play the game that I love, that was my first glimpse at what it was to be a Queenslander.

Living in Queensland, I was brought up here, and now I am part of the Queensland Maroons. It means so much to me and my family, especially my grandad and my nan.

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Can’t wait to get out there tomorrow. Always a dream to put this jersey on! Thanks everyone whose been apart of my life. ✊🏼 #4077

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My whole family – my mum, my dad, siblings, uncles, aunties. They all love Queensland. And I just don’t like the Blues. I don’t like them.

It means everything to be a Queenslander. 

I loved rugby league as a little kid. I played one year at Inala Panthers in under 6s and then from under 7s to under 16s I played for Souths Acacia Ridge Magpies and I loved it. 

My nan, my grandad, we were all brought up in Inala, everyone loves footy – that’s the vehicle to get out of the life. I’m proud and everyone’s proud of me.

Tesi Nui, who played juniors with me, is like my little brother. He’s killing it too, at the Broncos. I played with him throughout juniors.

Hopefully he keeps training hard and gets a crack in the NRL. He will. The future is looking very bright for him. He’s a great player, his parents are all good too.

We used to play against each other – he went to Marsden State High, I went to Keebra. We had that rivalry.

My rise through the ranks happened so quickly. I hope that happens for him too.

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A1DAY1 🍒🥂🌲

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I went Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup to Intrust Super Cup to NRL to Origin.

Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup was great. We played eight weeks, we made it to the GF in 2018, beat Norths Devils.

We had good mates in Norths Devils, and there’s always a rivalry between Norths Devils and Souths Logan Magpies.

They beat us in the round games, see, and we beat them in the big dance, which was good.

We made it to the national final against Penrith and they beat us by four points.

It was good, I was playing with my mates then and I’m playing with mates in the Broncs and Maroons now.

I learnt a lot where I was and I’m learning a lot where I am now.

Going from there, I played four Intrust Super Cup games for Souths Logan. It was memorable for me… playing Cup got me ready to play first grade.

Wayne Bennett was at one of my games and I think he liked what he saw.

We were playing a game against Norths Devils and it was the curtain raiser for the Broncos versus Raiders at Suncorp.

I was supposed to be playing the curtain raiser for Souths Logan, and I was in the shopping centre and I got a call from our manager and he said ‘congrats mate’ and bang, I knew straight away.

I never get calls from the manager. He said ‘you’re playing with us tonight, be ready’.

During that whole week I wasn’t training with the NRL squad or anything, I was training with the renegades. There’s two groups – renegades and NRL and I was training with the renegades, the Cup boys.

I just rocked up and all the boys were pretty shocked to see me in the stadium and sheds. I played and we got the win against the Raiders. A win on debut was good.

Getting my call up for Maroons, I was in a car with my mates Jake Turpin, Jordan Riki and Ethan Bullemor.

We were on our way to go out and I got the call from Kevie.

I was in the back seat and I didn’t want to let them know. I was just talking to Kevie and I was just saying ‘thank you so much, I’ll see you in camp tomorrow blah blah blah’.

The boys knew. They were happy as and proud of me. It was good. It was a good feeling.

I rang my mum straight away when I was out of the car and she cried. It was emotional.

I said it 2019, at the beginning of the year when we had the Emerging Origin camp, I wanted to play for Queensland. That was one of my goals and I did it.

David Fifita - Queensland Maroons' 200th player

It meant and means so much to me.

Growing up I always looked up to the backs, the spine – Cam Smith, Cronk and Slater, that combination they had.

But for forwards, probably Ben Te’o when he played for Queensland. He had the physique and the style of play, how I wanted to play and how I would like to play. Him being aggressive and a big boy, and coming from the Broncs as well.

I looked up to him and loved how he played and I tried to analyse my game on how he played.

I’ve caught up with him a couple of times last year. The Broncs tee’d up a coffee with myself and Jaydn Su’a and to this day, we keep in contact. He’s good. It’s good to chat with him.

I like getting tips off players who have been there before me, in the same position that I play.

This past off season for me has been a tough one. But I have a story now, I can tell my story. It was a rollercoaster.

I had a great year with the Broncs, making Origin and captaining the under 23s alongside Brodie Croft, was a special moment for me and my fam.

But then, the off field stuff, what happened over in Bali, that took a toll on me with my head mentally. I was bad mentally, but now that’s all over after a long process.

It took six or seven weeks to be processed, and I’m thankful for the club and my welfare officer Adam Walsh, they stuck strong with me and now it’s all solved.

I went over there with Payne Haas. Me and Payne, even though he’s a New South Wales boy, he’s one of my close mates, one of my best mates, and him, Tevita, Joe, the whole Broncs, and the staff, my coach Siebs, they were all really supportive.

Payne and I, we went to school together, we had a good team in 2016 – me, Payne, Thomas Mikaele who is down at Wests Tigers, Tanah Boyd who is now at the Gold Coast Titans, Moeaki Fotuaika at the Titans – we’ve all been close ever since.

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💙💯 One more go with the brothers next week. #KEEBRAPARKREP ✊🏻✊🏻

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But come Origin time, there’s no friends on the field. I’ll talk to him after. He knows.

I’m just glad that whole Bali thing is all over so I can just worry about footy. I am determined to be ready for footy when it starts.

Queensland fans, don’t write me off. I love the beach, I love dogs, I love animals, I like Chris Brown – he’s top of the list, any song. I can’t dance…. after a few beers, maybe. But no, there’s no way… I can’t dance, I can’t sing, I can’t cook.

But I can play footy. I love playing footy. I am a passionate Queenslander determined to make all Queenslanders proud.

Queensland fans, stick with us. It hasn’t been a good couple of years but we’re getting there.

We can see it, we’ve just got to keep training hard and hopefully whoever is there will do the job come time.

Bring it on.

Kind regards,

David Fifita

FOG #200

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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