NRL Rd 1 - Warriors v Titans
NRL Rd 1 - Warriors v Titans

Broncos on high alert for Fifita fireworks

Brisbane rookie Ethan Bullemor has labelled David Fifita a once-in-a-generation player and warned he could tear the Broncos apart in Friday night's grudge match on the Gold Coast.

Marquee Titans recruit Fifita will face his former Broncos teammates for the first time since signing a three-year, $3.5 million deal last July that made him the highest-paid player in the club's 14-year history.

The extraordinary deal, coupled with fierce analysis over Fifita's decision to walk out on the Broncos, will ensure all eyes are on the Titans star in the latest instalment of the M1 derby at Cbus Super Stadium.

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Bullemor, who turned 21 last month and is just four days older than Fifita, came through the Broncos system with the hulking back-rower, making him acutely aware of the havoc the Queensland Origin ace can wreak.

"Dave is a quality player, he is a generational player," Bullemor said.

"We know what he brings.

"We will do our best to contain him. It's the same as anyone, having line-speed, aggression, bodies around him (in defence) ... we will see how we go with him.

"Dave was a good mate, he is my age, we came through together, but he moved on.

"That's the nature of the game these days, it's a pretty fluid market and players are always moving around.


"While I was disappointed to lose a mate and a good player, that's footy, so we've moved on."

While Fifita is under pressure to deliver a match-winning display after a quiet start against the Warriors last week, the Broncos are banking on Bullemor to step-up in the wake of a round-one injury saga.

Winger Xavier Coates (neck) has been cleared to play, but key prop Matt Lodge (hamstring) will miss the Titans showdown, while bench utility John Asiata (neck/shoulder) remains in doubt after being cleared of spinal damage.

In the absence of Lodge, Tom Flegler will start in the front row, imposing more responsibility on Bullemor, who will chalk up just his 10th first-grade game against the Titans.

The Central Queensland product from Springsure has impressed with his no-nonsense style and is one of the fastest props in the NRL.

"I played in the backs when I was younger, then I put on a few kilos and I've kept my speed," he said.


"I'm really glad to be at the Broncos, this is my childhood club and I grew up supporting them.

"I looked up to guys like 'Gillo' (Matt Gillett) and 'Cozza' (Corey Parker) and I grew up idolising someone like Darren Lockyer, so it's great to be standing where they stood."

Bullemor is adamant the Broncos will learn lessons from blowing a 16-0 lead against the Eels last week.

"What we spoke about mostly was putting their foot on the throat when we are in a position to capitalise," he said.

"It (closing out game) is something that comes with experience but that's no excuse.

"We didn't cope with some of the adversity in small patches."

Originally published as Broncos on high alert for Fifita fireworks