Cheika waiting on Fifita


Andrew Fifita celebrates scoring for the Sharks in a trial game on Saturday against the Tigers. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Andrew Fifita celebrates scoring for the Sharks in a trial game on Saturday against the Tigers. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

NSW Waratahs coach Michael Cheika says he hasn't spoken to NRL star Andrew Fifita about a switch of codes but expects the Cronulla Sharks powerhouse would try to stay in Sydney if he did sign with the ARU.

Fifita was spotted in the crowd at the Waratahs' first-up win over the Western Force on Sunday but Cheika says so far discussions have been led by Ewen McKenzie and the Australian Rugby Union.

Cheika said it wasn't the game's intention to go out and poach the NRL's best talents.

He said the onus was on the player to express interest in crossing codes like Israel Folau, Sonny Bill Williams, Benji Marshall and Sam Burgess have done in recent times.

However, if headway is made, Cheika expects to be getting a knock on the door.

"If Fifita said he wanted to come and play rugby, the first place he would look is probably the Waratahs, because he's from NSW," Cheika said.

"He's played Origin for NSW and you'd think he'd want to play for NSW but there's four other Super Rugby teams in Australia he could play for as well.

"It's a bit of a [news]paper thing at the moment. There can't be any interest unless the guy actually comes up to us and says 'I'm interested in playing'.

"I don't think it's rugby's intention to say 'let's go out and get this league player'. As is happening more and more now, if a player decides he wants to cross codes ... you don't really think about it until then."

Cheika said he wasn't aware of claims from Blake Ferguson that the fallen Origin centre may also look to reignite his playing career in the 15-man game.

However, he says given the large profile of recent code-hoppers, it was inevitable that rugby and league players respectively would be linked with crossing to the other side of the fence.

"In each player's development, there might be [different] things he wants to do," he said.

"We're finding now that lots of guys who come through rugby schools then decide to go play league ... it's just whatever the player's feeling at the time.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with it. I think it's just the way the game is going and I think it's quite interesting." - AAP


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