Andrew ‘Fifi’ Fifita was born on the 29 day of June, 1989. Coincidentally, he has a twin brother David that was also born on that day, which according to medical professionals, is not uncommon. He also has an older brother Latu (stylised as LA2). Andrew was the nephew of John Fifita, who had an unsuccessful career at the Dragons and he is also the nephew of Solomon Haumono, ex-partner of Gabrielle ‘The Pleasure Machine’ Richens.
In the context of this pedigree it is no wonder Andrew had a troubled and tumultuous upbringing. He struggled with school and had extreme difficulty with spelling, a problem that lasted into adulthood. When his football career took off, journalists asked him how to spell his name, and his instruction resulted in his surname commonly misspelled as ‘Fafita’; a legacy that persists to this day.
He constantly skipped school, preferring to hang with David outside Westpoint Blacktown. The two brothers were described by local shopkeepers as being ‘thick as thieves’ in all 3 senses of the word. The brothers were constantly in trouble with the local police for a range of petty crimes: loitering, petty vandalism, aggravated buggery and trespass.
At age 8 Andrew formed his first gang – the Blacktown Bois.
An anonymous source recalled Andrew killing a homeless person at age 11 however this could not be verified in any way.
At age 12 Andrew and David joined the gang of another local youth, Mathew Lodge, pledging allegiance to the ‘Mathew Lodge A Complaint Against Us And You’ll End Up In A Body Bag’ gang, or MLACAUAYEUIABB for short. Andrew became concerned with the psychotic level of violence from Lodge and threatened to leave. The final straw came when Andrew was caught tagging the gangs name on disputed territory. Due to the amount of time it took to tag the walls and the risks it posed, he left the gang at age 14.
It was around the 5th time that Andrew’s mum bailed him out of prison that he was given an ultimatum. In an interview for 60 Minutes Up Late Edition, Andrew recalled this turning point in his life. ‘Mum had just bailed me out after another thievin’ spree. I got in the car and she said ‘Andrew, I love you very much, but you need to change your wicked ways you naughty, cheeky, silly boy. Here’s the deal. I have arranged for you to spend time down in Griffith with a family friend. You need to get out of Blacktown. Also if you don’t go, I am going to slowly poison David until you decide to go. You don’t need more blood on your hands.’ When she said that to me I was thinking ‘Man I’m hungry’ and then I thought Ok, I’ll go. There’s mad sick weed in Griffith and I can work for the Trimboles’ and all that as like an enforcer or a soldier’.
Unfortunately for Andrew, Robert Trimbole had died approximately 15 years earlier and his drug distribution network largely disbanded by the time Andrrw arrived. Regardless he went to Griffith and remained there for several years before returning to Sydney to finish school, now relatively free from the life of crime that had previously seemed inevitable.
Andrew was a talented junior footballer, and trialled with the Roosters as a winger. He was eventually signed by the West Tigers as an impact forward and made his NRL debut off the bench in 2010, scoring a try. He finished the year representing Tonga in an international, eligible through his father’s heritage. Andrew said he would have liked to have represented Australia, however there were many far-better players at the time that warranted selection over the 4 game Wests Tigers rookie.
Towards the end of the 2011 season Andrew fell out of favour with coach Tim Sheens and was dropped to NSW Cup. Sheens’ instructions were for him to go back and ‘channel his inner Laurie Nichols’ but Andrew had no idea what that meant and therefore didn’t get another opportunity in first grade.
Frustrated, he signed a 3 year deal with the Cronulla Sharks. This was part of a package deal with Bryce Gibbs, freeing up salary cap space so the Tigers could then sign Adam Blair, in a deal that Tigers fans need to be constantly and mercilessly reminded of at every available opportunity.
At the Sharks, Andrew flourished. He was given regular game-time, his own locker, new boots and a sausage sandwich every second Wednesday after training and it showed in his performances.
2013 was the year Andrew announced himself as one of the premier front-rowers in the world. He was selected for the NSW Origin team, playing all 3 games of the series off the bench. At the end of the year he was the Sharks leading try scorer with 9 for the season, however that was more a reflection of the Sharks attacking woes than Fifita’s try scoring ability.
Andrew was also named Dally M Prop of the Year. At the awards speech, Andrew was quoted as saying ‘this is an amazing honour, now all I need to do is win the award for International Special Best World Prop of the Year’, an award coach Shane Flanagan had in fact made up to motivate him.
Off the back of his individual performances, Andrew was selected to play for Australia in the 2013 World Cup. In the semi-final match against Fiji, Andrew scored the last try of the match in the nail- biting 64-0 win. Interestingly, this was the last try ever called by BBC rugby league commentator Ray French before he retired. ‘Rather unfortunate and, quite frankly, a waste of me bloody breath’ is how French fondly recalled the occasion.
Andrew was on top of the world at the end of 2013. Quite fittingly, he summited Mt Everest on New Years Eve. It is said that all good things must come to an end, and 2014 and 2015 did not list many positive moments as featured on Andrew’s Facebook ‘Year in review’.
In March 2014 Andrew signed a four-year, $800,000 a season contract with the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs. Two weeks later, the contract was terminated. There was conflicting accounts from both sides on why this occurred.
The Bulldogs claimed they were unhappy with comments Andrew made in the media after signing, saying things such as he wished he chose Rugby Union, his heart will always be in Cronulla and that he does not support gang rape.
Andrew, on the other hand, stated that his official contract offer was significantly less than agreed on, and the clause allowing his brother to be the one that led Spike and Belmore James onto the field at each home game was removed entirely.
Andrew eventually signed a contract extension with the Sharks, but he first had to personally apologise to the Board for trying to leave, run 20 extra laps at training and was required to chop onions for the Wednesday sausage sizzles for the rest of the year.
2014 was the year the Sharks faced the full punishment over their supplement saga and their on field performance suffered. While not one of the players facing a ban, Andrew was unable to lift the side as he suffered an ankle injury that kept him off the field for the majority of the season. Some commentators believe he would have recovered a lot quicker if he had of been part of the Sharks doping regime.
Andrew missed all 3 games of the Origin series, which NSW won for the first time in 8 years.
Andrew had become increasing upset with his circumstances on and off the field and in August, he was involved in a road rage incident where he threw a non-egg shaped object at a car travelling behind him. Both cars pulled over and when the second driver realised how big Andrew is in person, he refused to get out of his Subaru. Andrew then punched and kicked the panels of his car in a fashion similar to the bonus stage in Street Fighter II, before driving off.
With Cronulla getting the wooden spoon and Andrew facing several injuries and a slump in form, he suffered serious depression. This part of his life has no humour in it so I’m just gonna say if you feel like you may have a problem, speak to your GP, talk to a mate or check out some great online resources. There’s help available and you aren’t alone.
2015 rolls around and a string of good performances earn Andrew a re-call into the NSW side for the first game of the state of origin series, however he was not selected for game 2 or 3 because his club team-mate and occasional babysitter Paul Gallen returned to the side after injury.
Andrew had seemingly got his life back together by mid-2015 with his return to rep footy and Cronulla on track to make the finals, however Andrew and controversy are as synonymous as Brisbane and Friday Night Footy; Newcastle and the wooden spoon; Melbourne and Yachts; Souths and tooth; Julian O’Neill and Schlossy’s shoe…you get the point.
In early August Andrew went to Penrith to watch his brother run the water for St Patrick’s Blacktown. David was constantly boasting that he could carry 3 water bottles at once and could also spray water into a players mouth from 5 meters away while on the run. Andrew decided to see this for himself and film it for David’s new YouTube channel. During the match David became incensed and swore at the referee (a 24 year old riot policeman) because he did not stop the game for an injured player.
The referee (seeing a potential A Current Affair interview situation and associated payout unfolding) took out his phone and started filming David’s potty mouth tirade. Andrew then became involved and reportedly told the referee to ‘Stop filming and delete it or I’ll smash you up’ and had to be held back from the referee by Gwen Hilderbrandt, a 68 year old grandmother.
Andrew denied this version of events and attempted to clear his name in an exclusive interview with Danny Weidler on his short lived chat show ‘Danny on the mic’:
‘I never told that ref to delete the footage. I thought it was hilarious. David was goin’ off his head and I thought the ref’s footage would make a great end to episode 6 of David’s Youtube. You know the bit at the end where they tell you to click subscribe and that and all the things like flash up? I was gonna put it in there. I never said ‘Stop filming and delete it or I’ll smash you up’. I actually said ‘Don’t stop filming or delete it and I’ll cash you up’. I wanted to give the bloke like $20 bucks for a copy.’
Unfortunately the NRL did not see it that way and both David and Andrew were fined $30,000 and each suspended for 6 weeks. The brothers were also suspended for a year from the Penrith District Rugby League, which had no effect on Andrew, however this impacted severely on David’s ability to get content for his YouTube channel, which closed down soon after.
Andrew returned from his suspension off the bench for Cronulla’s elimination final victory over Souths, however they bowed out of contention the following week in a nail-biting 39-0 loss to the eventual premiers North Queensland.
2016 began and the Sharks, buoyed by several key signings, saw themselves as serious contenders for the 2016 premiership. Andrew was selected for NSW, playing all 3 games off the bench.
During Game III Andrew was sinbinned for choking Gavin Cooper just before half-time after Cooper threw the ball at NSW 5/8 Matt Moylan. This action was again viewed unfavourably by the general public, however Andrew at the very least ultimately proved one commentator wrong:
‘This clown will cost Cronulla its shot at the premiership, as for his efforts in the origin match I think the video says it all.’ Terry, Daily Telegraph comments section July 15, 2016.
Ahh Terry. How wrong you were.
Also during the series Andrew renewed his rivalry with Qld player Joshua McGuire. McGuire was jealous of Andrew’s ‘rats-tail’ haircut and tried to steal it for himself, in an audacious attempt to complete his transformation into an actual rat.
Despite his best efforts, McGuire was not able to scalp Andrew. After the game Andrew said that while it didn’t physically hurt him ‘I am hurt and upset that McGuire wanted to ruin all the good work of the poor orphans’ (To clarify, Andrew auctioned off the occasion for people to plait his hair for him. That auction was won by the Sydney Orphan Centre, narrowly outbidding an R. Crowe of Bowraville for the once in a lifetime opportunity. The auction raised $57 for the Tim Simona House Charities).
Andrew’s 2016 season culminated with a chance to play in his first grand final with the Sharks against Melbourne. Andrew lead from the front and scored the winning try for the Sharks in the 14-12 victory, giving the Sharks their first ever Mad Monday in October.
Controversially, Andrew was overlooked for the Clive Churchill Medal, with Luke Lewis receiving the award. It was later discovered that several high-profile gamblers did not heed Joel Caine’s warnings and Sportsbet was required to flex its muscle to ensure Andrew did not win, due to the large bets it had taken on the rampaging prop. The conspiracy is real people!
During the offseason of 2016, Andrew was fined $20,000 for writing the letters ‘FKL’ on his wrist tape during games that year. It was suggested that it stood for ‘Free Kieran Loveridge’; a friend of Andrew’s in prison for a one-punch attack. Andrew tried to clarify the issue with Paul Vautin on the ‘Fun Fatty Friday Footy’ podcast: ‘Yeah Kieran’s a mate and I visited him in prison. But that was because he put me down as his next of kin and I had to tell him it wasn’t appropriate. I kept getting calls from the prison guards about things he put in his butt and I did want to deal with that. But FKL actually had nothing to do with him. It stands for Fifi Knows League. My brother made it up. Good hey. Because I know league, Fatty. Front and back. And when I need to dig deep I just look at it and it reminds me. Also reminds Chad Townsend too. That’s why he always passes me the ball’.
In the most recent 2017 season, Andrew played 23 games for the Sharks, and started at prop for NSW in all 3 games of the state of origin series. In Game 1 of the series Andrew was judged man of the match in a performance that judges believe showed he was the best player on the field during that particular match.
Due to Andrew’s domination in game 1, he was heavily targeted in games 2 and 3. After a loss in game 2, Andrew’s cheeky nemesis and still transitioning rat Joshua McGuire sledged Andrew. It was later reported that McGuire cruelly told Andrew to ‘go have a whinge you little girl NSW cry-baby girl’. Andrew took it personally and footage from Game 3 saw Andrew with ‘I Hate JM’ and ‘JM loves Billy 4 eva’ written on his strapping tape, in a brutal get-square with the Qld lock.
At the conclusion of the 2017 NRL season Andrew was selected in the Australian side for the upcoming World Cup. 24 hours later he declared that he was going to shun the country that raised, nurtured and supported him through all the difficult times and actually provided him with the opportunity to play rugby league in a productive environment, in favour of representing Tonga again. Andrew explained his decision to Steve Mascord steavis
, writing for Man-hunk magazine. ‘I actually made a pact with good friend Jack Bird. We were both gonna play for Tonga. Unfortunately Birdy was advised that he wasn’t eligible as he had absolutely no Tongan ancestry whatsoever. So we both rung up Fiji League but weren’t eligible for them either because of the same reasons. Apparently you need like an uncle or step-dad or something from that country to be able to play for ‘em. So I rung Tonga again on the home phone and let ‘em know I was playing but Birdy wasn’t allowed. They were disappointed but they said he can run the water or something. He’s a bit weird old Birdy to be honest. Club wise he’s Brisbane’s problem now which is good. ’
When Andrew retires he will be known as an awkward, powerful and potentially gamebreaking prop. He has a terrible play-the-ball style (known colloquially as ‘doin a fifi’), a commanding tackle-break, large capital letters tattooed on his legs and a knack for scoring tries. He loves an offload and once famously said he wanted to perform 40 offloads in a game. With games only being 80 minutes long and a current career high of 7 in a game this seems extremely unlikely, but anything is possible for the mighty Andrew Fifita. Well, except that.
Outside chances in 2019 Dally M Medal betting. Damien Cook ($26 at Sportsbet) – South Sydney’s star hooker was a red-hot contender in the first half of the year, but his performances tapered off somewhat after the Origin series and the Bunnies’ streaky form will not have helped his chances. Award winning In-Play betting Cash Out Instant Withdrawals Price Boosts We introduce a Fun, Fast and Fair way how to bet on your favourite Sportsbook, try out our Daily Sportsbet Special. Maximum stake is 25 mBTC. Home Teams Total Goals Combined. Over 8.5 2.10. Under 8.5 1.80. Blackjack Master. Sportsbet has Dally M betting options, Dally M odds and Dally M tips available on the Dally M 2020, among a wide range of NRL odds and futures. Bet now . NRL POST-COVID-19 RESTART View the latest odds on Dally M Medal Matches & Bet with Sportsbet. Join Australia's Favourite Online Betting and Entertainment Website. Bet on horse racing, AFL, rugby and other events with Sportsbet. Join Australia's Favourite Online Betting and Entertainment Website.
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