NSW prop Andrew Fifita has revealed how he shunned twin brother David to focus on his State of Origin recall.
Two days before this year’s series-opener in Sydney, David was granted personal leave by NRL side Cronulla to address family issues in England.
While the club denied the 26-year-old was unhappy in the Shire, he signed an 18-month deal with Super League side Wakefield just two weeks later.
“I already knew about it a fair while back, that he was trying to look and wanted out,” Andrew told AAP.
But after earning a recall to the Blues team for game one, Andrew told his brother that he needed to concentrate on putting on a big performance against Queensland.
It was the first time he had been picked for NSW since deputising for captain Paul Gallen in game one of last year’s series, where he was also disrupted in the lead-up.
“I knew I had a job to do and I had enough distractions last year regarding off-field drama when it come to Origin I,” he said.
“I had a baby coming on the due date on Origin night, so my mind was elsewhere.”
Andrew said he was sad to see his brother go, particularly with the Sharks currently leading the competition and a real shot of breaking through for a maiden premiership.
The pair had played 15 games together since David arrived at Cronulla in 2014.
“To be honest, it’s unfortunate because we’re a really good side this year and we could really go somewhere with the team we have this year for Cronulla,” Andrew said.
“But in saying that, I’d rather see my brother happy. That’s the main thing for my family, and I think any family member would like to see that.
“David’s happier now at the moment and that’s where I want to see him. That makes me happy.”
Fifita didn’t get on the field in the game-one loss until midway through the second half, where he sparked the team with a handful of charging runs.
But Blues coach Laurie Daley promised more minutes for his bench prop.
“I’ve been really impressed with the way he’s handled himself in the first two camps. He’ll get plenty of time in game two,” Daley said.