St George Illawarra centre Moses Suli has made the stunning admission he never wanted to join the NRL club, claiming incoming forward Viliami Fifita is also hesitant.
Fifita officially joined the Dragons from Manly on Tuesday, as part of a swap deal between the two clubs with Aaron Woods bound for Brookvale.
But his arrival has already been doused with controversy, after Suli claimed the 22-year-old forward did not want to leave the Sea Eagles to join the Dragons.
Suli and Fifita share the same manager, and grew up together as they attended the same church in Sydney.
Suli himself moved down to the Dragons from Manly at the end of 2021, after struggling for consistent game time at the Sea Eagles.
The move has seen him become a regular first-grader, but he said he was not keen on the change of the clubs at the time, and that Fifita feels the same now.
Moses Suli departed the peninsula ahead of the 2022 NRL season in search of game time.Credit:Getty
“From what my manager said, he didn’t want to come,” Suli said.
“He loved it over at Manly.
“I was in the same situation as well, I didn’t want to come here. But I have to do what is best for me and my footy. I guess he’s coming to do the same thing. Hopefully he comes, has a crack, and hopefully he does well.”
Suli’s comments come at the worst possible time for the Dragons, with coach Anthony Griffin under significant pressure and questions about the club’s culture in the off-season.
Players this week admitted their back-to-back capitulations to Brisbane and Cronulla came down to attitude, with it left wanting in the second half of games and two scores of 40 put on them.
The signings of Fifita and fellow Manly forward Alec Tuitavake should have been positive news for the club, as two players with a genuine future.
While the Sea Eagles initially agreed to a release for Tuitavake, they opposed Fifita’s early exit from his contract until Woods was offered up in return.
Fifita has joined the Dragons’ top-30 squad immediately after being considered a possible first-grader at Manly this year, while Tuitavake is a development player who will be upgraded to the top 30 next year.
Woods has not featured in first grade for the Dragons this year, with the former Kangaroos Test prop overlooked for selection.
“We feel both Viliami and Alec are at an age in which their potential for growth over the coming years is significant and in their own way they each provide a point of difference that complements our current roster,” Dragons football boss Ben Haran said.
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