Queensland great Darren Locker says David Fifita must get rid of the “lazy” traits in his game if he is to live up to his monster Titans contract.
Fifita has been a hit in the Gold Coast in his first season since making a big-money move over from the Broncos, however the Titans still find themselves outside the NRL’s top eight.
The 21-year-old also endured a disappointing state of Origin campaign for Queensland, failing to have an impact in the first two matches before missing the Maroons’ Game Three win due to a suspension.
Lockyer, who is a selector for Queensland’s State of Origin side, touched on the areas where the Titans star was “letting himself down”.
“When you have a really good young impact player like Dave is, the ones that evolve into the really good players are the ones that get their head around doing the one-percenters, doing the little things well in their game,” he told Wide World of Sports’ QLDER.
“I think that’s where Dave is letting himself down at the moment, whether it’s filling space in defence, having at times I guess you would say lazy plays.
“That talent he’s got and those damaging runs he can do – they will always be there. But if he gets better at doing the one-percenters in his game – kick pressure, kick chase, getting back behind the ball early, all those little things [he will be even better].
“It’s not a muscle memory thing; it’s a work ethic thing. It makes him a complete player.
“He’s got talent, and if he’s got the work ethic and the commitment there, he can earn that sort of money for the rest of his career, but at the moment, until he fixes up that stuff, there’s going to be questions asked about him.”
Broncos and Queensland great Sam Thaiday echoed Lockyer’s point, adding that Fifita could learn from his teammates such as Tino Fa’asuamaleaui.
“If there’s a break that’s made [Fa’asuamaleaui] is chasing all the way back to the posts, if there’s a short side that needs to be filled [he’ll be there],” Thaiday told QLDER.
“[Fifita has] got guys around him that can help him and teach him some of these skills.
“He’s just got to be willing and be able to put his hand up and say, ‘There are things in my game I need to fix.
“Yes, I am talented, yes, I can do these big plays’, but it’s about doing these little plays.
“When you can look fancy, David Fifita, he’s only young, he’s probably already got a two-song highlight reel … But they’re the guys you wanted to play with, your Dallas Johnson, the guys that always showed up on every little tackle, those little one-percenters that you don’t get the accolades for.
“If Dave starts bringing those things into his game, it’ll boost his confidence and it’ll only make the Titans a better team.”
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!