QUEENSLAND legend Billy Moore says David Fifita will be a 10-year Origin player and has backed the teenage wrecking-ball to help the Maroons stave off the threat of a New South Wales dynasty.
Fifita made history this season when he became the first player born in the 2000s to play State of Origin after being handed his Queensland debut by coach Kevin Walters for Game One at Suncorp Stadium.
Fifita made an instant impact off the bench, making a crucial charge midway through the second half which shifted momentum for the Maroons, who scored two late tries to snatch an 18-14 victory.
When the Blues fought back to win the series 2-1, it sparked a frenzy south of the border.
It was NSW’s second consecutive series triumph.
Suddenly, there was talk of a Blues dynasty to match the record-breaking feats of Mal Meninga’s Maroon marauders, who won nine of 10 series between 2006-15.
But in Fifita, a 19-year-old, 108kg weapon built like an Adonis with the speed to trample opponents as if they were tumbleweeds, Moore believes Queensland have an X-factor to lead the fightback in 2020.
“Fifita is a future international. I see him being a 10-year NRL and Origin player,” said Moore, the former 17-game Origin lock.
“I was really impressed with his first Origin series and the only way is up from here.
“Marry Gorden Tallis with Justin Hodges as athletes and you have David Fifita.
“Fifita has the power and brutality of Tallis with the evasion and speed of a big outside back like ‘Hodgo’.
“He is a genuine superstar and a physical freak.
“The Blues have unearthed a real generation of stars led by James Tedesco and Tom Trbojevic, but Fifita is the one guy in the Queensland pack that has match-winning capabilities.”
It is mind-boggling to think Broncos young gun Fifita was playing for the Queensland under-18s just last year.
Even harder to believe for Fifita was the support he received from Broncos and Queensland front-row legends Shane Webcke and Petero Civoniceva, the latter of whom mentored him in Camp Maroon and presented him with his maiden Origin jersey.
“My debut is something I will never forget,” Fifita said.
“Petero and Shane Webcke were great support for me before the first game.
“Shane actually spoke to me during the week leading up, he said congratulations on how you are going.
“Those two guys are legends, so to have those two guys supporting me … I just sat back and said, ‘Wow’.
“Petero presented me with my jersey, and it’s something I will never forget.
“Petero was great for Queensland, Australia and the Broncos and he is someone I look up to and can lean on and talk to.”
Fifita’s rampaging charges during the series and ability to absorb the brutal contact showed he was not overawed by the code’s toughest arena.
“The speed and the physicality of Origin was really different to club level, but the emotion and adrenaline got me going,” Fifita said.
“I was probably a bit down coming back to the NRL after the series because the series takes a lot out of you mentally as well.
“It’s been a great opportunity to play in this Queensland jumper and I won’t let it go.”
Fifita’s sizzling form at the back-end of the NRL season has sparked interest from 10 rival clubs, with suggestions he is now worth $1 million on the open market.
Moore is confident Fifita will stay on Queensland soil and chase long-term success with the Broncos and Maroons.
“David has played Origin this season and he is just about to bear fruit, so it would be a shame if another club pinched Fifita and bore the fruits of what the Broncos have developed,” Moore said.
“It would be hard for David to say no to $1 million from a rival club, but I’m sure the Broncos will do the hardest negotiation they can to keep him in Queensland where he belongs.”