Dewsbury miss out on Tongan international as Jowitt lines up replacement

Dewsbury Rams’ hopes of signing Tongan dualcode international Gordon Fifita are over after the sport’s governing body said he does not qualify to play in the Championship.
Last month The Press revealed that the Rams had begun talks with Fifita through agent Craig Harrison, but rules applied by both the Rugby Football League and the UK Border Agency have scuppered the club’s ambitious plans.
Chairman Mark Sawyer revealed to that his club would have had to have paid Fifita, who has never played in this country, over £12,000 in order for him to obtain a work permit and visa.
With the Dewsbury budget now close to capacity, Sawyer admits it would have been a huge gamble, and one they couldn’t afford to take as Fifita would have become the club’s highest earner.
He said: “We are really struggling to get Gordon over here now as we’ve been told by the UK Boarder Agency that we would have to give him a oneyear contract with a guaranteed salary of over £12,000 in order for him to be able to come.
“We’re almost spent up in terms of the budget and therefore to bring him over now, we would need extra cash from sponsors or elsewhere.
“We’ve only secured two friendlies so far and that makes it hard to see where we’ll make up the extra revenue.
“If we signed Gordon, he would instantly become the club’s highest paid player and we’re not in a suitable position to do that at the minute.
“To bring in a relatively unknown player and give him that sort of money may well do some damage to team morale too.
“If a player isn’t going well and they are being paid more than the rest of the team, it could cause resentment amongst the squad.”
Head coach Warren Jowitt expressed his disappointment after receiving confirmation that the Tongan definitely couldn’t sign for the club due to a lack of competitive appearances to his name.
Jowitt added: “It’s very disappointing to know that he won’t be coming and that’s simply because he hasn’t played enough competitive games in order to qualify.”
“It would have been really good to have got him over and into preseason training but it wasn’t meant to be, and we have to move on.”
Jowitt revealed how he is already close to signing an unnamed Super Leaguebased prop as a replacement for Fifita.
The club are likely to announce the signing, who Jowitt said was “highly experienced and high quality”, on Monday.
Meanwhile the club are going to hold a ‘meet the players’ evening, which will also be the night that the Rams reveal their new home and away playing kits for 2012, on December 9.
The event will start at 7.30pm in the Royal Suite at the Tetley’s Stadium, season tickets will be on sale and vouchers to enable the purchase of a shirt, at a lower price of £30, will be available.

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