David Fifita hopes to be remembered simply as ‘the Big Bopper’ as he bows out after seven years at Wakefield Trinity this week.
The forward, who has close to 150 Trinity appearances to his name, has been a cult hero at the club with his larger-than-life character, and he bade farewell to Belle Vue in last Thursday’s win over Hull KR.
“I just want to be remembered as the Big Bopper,” said 33-year-old Fifita after deciding to leave Wakefield.
“A few years ago they tried to make the comp faster. To every big bopper out there who is looking at footy and saying it’s too fast, mate, you can still do it.
“I’m 120 kilos running around the field at this age, and I’ve still got legs. To every young big bopper coming through the ranks, stick at it. You can play at any figure!”
Fifita said he intends to return home to Australia with the hope of playing alongside his twin brother Andrew, a former Kangaroos and Origin star who is leaving Cronulla Sharks.
“It’s going to be tough to walk away from this. There have plenty of opportunities to get away from this club and go to another one, to one of the so-called bigger teams, but I love this club through and through,” he said.
“It was late, only a week or two ago (I decided). I spoke to the family; we’ve been through a tough month with a few losses in the family and losses to people here.
“I just feel the time is right to maybe get back home and play one more year with my brother in A grade or some sort of footy. I just want to play with him.
“My family have only watched me on TV; now I want to play live in front of them back home. I’m excited for the next chapter.”
He said he “wanted to go out with a bang” at Belle Vue and did exactly that with a conversion in the final minutes, before taking the appreciation of the crowd alongside fellow overseas departure Tinirau Arona.
“Jesus, it was emotional at the end! That’s the best feeling I’ve ever had,” he said.
As well as Fifita and Arona departing, Yusuf Aydin has joined James Batchelor in leaving for Hull KR at the end of their contracts.
Tom Johnstone is joining Catalans Dragons while Jacob Miller is expected to sign for Castleford Tigers.
As a result, Wakefield will need to be active in the recruitment market for next season, but head coach Willie Poching admits their involvement in a relegation battle has been a major setback.
“We’re still in the discussion stage,” said Poching.
“It’s been late because of where we’d been. I understand people have been nervy to talk to us and commit.”
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