The Titans recruitment has come under fire after their fall from semi-finalists last year to 13th approaching the middle of the 2022 season, with their spine an area of concern.
Dave Riccio believes the money the Titans are spending on David Fifita would be better served improving their spine, which has become unbalanced.
“How has the Titans recruitment been over the last few seasons?” Braith Anasta asked on NRL 360.
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“Do you think they are in a strong position? Have they made the right decisions?”
Paul Kent noted that the Titans lack depth in the spine, but he believes their forwards and particularly skipper Tino Fa’asuamaleaui have been good for the club.
“There was an obvious thinning in the spine area,” Kent said.
“But the likes of Tino and Fifita have been good.”
However, Riccio believes Fifita’s signing has put their whole salary cap out of whack, which has neglected their spine, which is what wins premierships.
“Fifita has been a disaster, nothing short of,” Riccio said.
“$1.2 million car crash. It has been horrendous. He is on the sidelines now and again your salary cap manager is paying over $1 million for an edge back-rower who sits out there waiting for the ball to come to him. It is just farcical.”
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“The thing is with Fifita you are paying on potential and that kind of happens just hoping that he comes good and he reaches his potential and brings the best out of himself for the team,” Anasta said.
“I still believe that he can, but at the moment he is just not even before he got injured.
“There is a lot of clubs that would have done what the Titans did and there will still be clubs lining up for Fifita if he moves on.”
However, Paul Crawley noted the Titans have a history of paying on potential and they need to start drawing recruits to the club who are proven winners.
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“It was a $1 million a season gamble and then they have done it with David Fifita.
“Now Fifita has got all the talent in the world and you are probably right, you had to pay him $1 million to get him. But was it a good decision for the club? No it wasn’t. It wasn’t a good decision.
“And then with Kieran Foran going there and everyone is looking at these experienced playmakers that are going to different clubs.
“I guess the difference with Foran is that he has spent his life playing No.6. I know he can play No.7, but he hasn’t got the legs that will give him a kicking game anymore.”
Anasta believes the Titans will have egg on their face if Raiders recruit Jamal Fogarty returns from injury and has success in Canberra.
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“They let go of Fogarty too, so if Fogarty starts playing really well at Canberra then their recruitment will come into question,” Anasta said.
“But it already should be because they got rid of a like for like replacement,” Riccio interjected.
“They got rid of a similar player.”
Crawley questioned where AJ Brimson or Jayden Campbell will play when Foran joins the halves next season.
“Where does that leave AJ Brimson or young Jayden Campbell?” Crawley said.
“Well Campbell has got to play fullback,” Anasta answered.
“So where does AJ play?” Crawley persisted.
“In the halves with Foran,” Anasta replied.
“And Sexton’s gone?” Crawley asked.
“Because in my books here is a young guy who has incredible potential.
“He is never going to be that superstar Sam Walker style of halfback, but he has certainly got the ability long-term to be a Chad Townsend type player. If you put time into him.”
Anasta believes the Titans can’t bench Brimson given the big money they paid him to be the club’s long-term fullback or five-eighth.
“You can’t bench Brimson,” Anasta said.
“But this is what we are talking about. They have got themselves in a pickle where we don’t even know who they are going to pick where.
“They have got a lot of quality players, but are they the right players for the Titans? They don’t even know themselves at the moment and you can see it in their performances.”
Riccio revealed Campbell has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave in 2023 if he strikes a deal with an NRL rival and there are a number of Sydney clubs interested.
“Jayden Campbell is a player that a lot of clubs are looking at,” Riccio said.
“There is an option in Jayden’s contract that allows some flexibility to get out earlier than the end of term, which is 2023.
“He is a player the Titans cannot afford to lose. But there is some Sydney clubs keeping an eye on him.”