Wakefield Trinity prepared for early farewell by returning hero David Fifita

DAVID FIFITA will be “talked about for many years to come” regardless of whether he stays at Wakefield Trinity to see out their relegation battle, according to coach Mark Applegarth.

The popular prop, nicknamed the ‘Big Bopper’, spent seven years at Wakefield in his first spell before returning home to Australia at the end of 2022.

Trinity’s struggles at the beginning of this year, however, prompted him to return in an attempt to help save the club’s Super League status.

The 34-year-old former Cronulla Sharks and Tonga player said on re-joining in May that he may have to leave before the end of the season, with his wife expecting their fourth child this month.

And Applegarth has no issue with him packing his bags – even if his exit would weaken his side for the run-in.

“It’s exactly as we said when we signed him. He’s got his family back home and his wife is due any minute,” he said. “He’s a family man and family always comes first. 

“I’m in constant dialogue with him about it and we’ll see how it all unfolds. If he has to go home to be with his family, I 100 percent back him on that. 

“I appreciate him coming over here in the short-term period he has, and giving us that lift and boost, but ultimately family is family. 

“I don’t know (when he might go). He could be around for another two or three weeks at least. But if he does have to go, I don’t think anyone can knock him for it.”

Applegarth added that Fifita, who recently passed 150 appearances for Wakefield, would go down in club history, whether he completes his mission to keep them up or not.

“He’s going to be a player that is talked about for many years to come, not just for coming back and helping the fight this year, but what he did in previous years too,” he added.

“He’s a larger-than-life character. He makes sure he signs autographs for every young fan and poses for pictures. 

“I can’t speak highly enough of the guy. He’s a genuine family man whose heart is in the right place and he’ll rightly go down as a big part of Wakefield Trinity’s history, regardless of what happens.”