Andrew Fifita didn’t even know if he would live earlier in the year, never mind play rugby league again.
A shocking broken larynx left the Cronulla Sharks heavyweight with an emergency operation needed as he was moments from death following an innocuous incident on the rugby league field.
In a game against the Newcastle Knights, Fifita caught a stray elbow in the throat, but it wasn’t until after the game that he began to struggle to breathe.
With the rugby league fraternity hoping and praying, the ‘Big Bopper’ survived and is now miraculously back playing.
But, Fifita could well have been playing in the Super League this year had a remarkable deal with Wakefield Trinity to join brother, David, not fallen through.
“We had it a Wakefield last year where it was pretty much over the line and I was so excited by it and he pretty much said that the awful injury he went through and he thought I was finished,” Fifita recalled previously on The Full Eighty Minutes podcast.
“We went downhill then me and him because we knew how much it meant to each other and how we got the best out of each other.
“We started together at under-6s if there is a chance next year for us to play together then I want it.
“It’s still a part of his dream for us to play together for a year – I’m excited, if he comes over I’m happy to carry on because I do feel good.”
That move, however, looks to have no chance of happening now with current Cronulla head coach Craig Fitzgibbon determined to bring Andrew into the coaching frame once he hangs up his boots.
Another sticking point in trying to get Andrew to play for Wakefield would be the price – according to a recent study by the Daily Telegraph, Fifita is currently earning $850,000 – which equates to a gargantuan £466,000.
No one in Super League could perhaps afford that wage, so maybe it was just a pipedream after all.