Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Yesterday afternoon the Newcastle Knights defeated the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks but the big story coming out of this game was the injury that Andrew Fifita sustained when he took a hit to the throat that severely impacted his breathing.
It was then reported that the 32-year-old was suffering from a swelling of the larynx but was in a stable condition until, unfortunately, news broke today that he had been rushed to the Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Brisbane Hospital and put into an induced coma to further assist his breathing.
Fifita’s family and representatives from the Sharks are set to meet with a specialist today to discuss whether or not he will require corrective surgery, which would rule him out for the rest of the season and put his career in serious jeopardy.
The Tongan International started the season playing in the Knock-On Effect New South Wales Cup competition for the defending champion Newtown Jets, before making his NRL return for the Sharks in round 10 and has played a total of six first grade games this season, making 12 tackle breaks for 122.4 post-contact metres, 54 average running metres and 59 tackles for an efficiency rate of 93.6%.
Andrew Fifita is in ICU and has been placed in an induced coma.
He is stable. Hopefully time to rest will reduce the severe swelling to allow him to breathe properly. Surgery expected to follow. Thoughts with Andrew and his family.🙏https://t.co/C5SIC8pfdT
— Michael Chammas (@MichaelChammas) August 16, 2021
While his 2021 has not been his greatest, Fifita has had a stellar career that if now over should be remembered fondly, as, throughout his 229 game NRL career for the Tigers and Sharks, the Blacktown native played ten Origin games for New South Wales, seven Internationals for Australia and 10 for Tonga.
He also won an NRL premiership with Cronulla in 2016, scoring a memorable try in the Grand Final that will go down in history, as in the end, it resulted in the Sharks winning their first-ever title after being in the league for 50 seasons.
If we have seen Fifita take the field for the last time then it is a shame he could not end his career on his terms; however, if it is to the benefit of his long-term health then so be it.
Everything Rugby League would like to wish Andrew Fifita a speedy and full recovery.