Rugby League: Tongan forward Andrew Fifita won't apologise for tirade

  • 15/10/2018

 Prop Andrew Fifita isn't apologising for the expletive-laden podcast that has left him in hot water with Cronulla officials.

Fifita and teammate Josh Dugan were swiftly handed warning letters by the NRL club, after launching the fierce tirade against rugby league  journalist Phil 'Buzz' Rothfield in August.

More than seven weeks on, the 29-year-old addressed the controversial podcast for the first time and defended his actions, believing players deserved a platform for free speech.

He described the 'Halfcast Podcast', which he co-hosted with two UFC fighters, as a chance to let their personalities shine for fans in a relaxed environment.

"We're three western Sydney boys," Fifita said. "It's not a UFC podcast - it's just three elite 

athletes having a say.

"We should be allowed to have a voice too. Everyone knows who I am and I just say it how it is - I wear my heart on my sleeve.

"[That's] my personality. If I don't like you, I don't like you.

"That's the way life goes. You're not going to like everyone you meet."

NRL boss Todd Greenburg supported Cronulla's actions against the Sharks pair.

An emotional Dugan later fronted media and expressed displeasure at the negative coverage of NRL players, believing positive news opportunities were ignored.

Fifita was relaxed about his behaviour when addressing journalists before representing Tonga against Australia on Saturday in Auckland.

He was also asked to revisit his other act of errant behaviour in August, when he gesticulated to his own coaching box, after scoring a try against North Queensland.

The former Kangaroos and NSW front-rower said the issue was resolved in the days immediately after the incident. He insisted he had simply reacted to a halftime rev-up from assistant coach Jim Dymock to run harder.

Fifita played most of the season battling a knee complaint and confirmed he would undergo twin operations this month to repair the damage.

"It was a very tough year for me, mentally and physically," he said. 

"I've got one more game to go and it's against the world's best so, hopefully, I can put all the eggs in one basket and really take it to them."

AAP

Join us at 7:30pm Saturday for live updates of Mate Ma'a Tonga vs Australian Kangaroos test at Mt Smart.