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Andrew Fifita studying mental health

NZN 14/03/2017 Matt Encarnacion

Two years after attempting suicide, Cronulla NRL star Andrew Fifita has revealed he has begun studying for a mental health diploma and would like to help young people with similar issues.

In his first interview since his controversial Four Nations omission last year, Fifita recalled on Tuesday how he made a promise to his wife two years ago to beat his mental demons.

"I made a commitment that in two years time, I'll go back and accomplish what I did. I beat the meds and I beat my mental battles," he said.

Left out of the Australian squad late last year, Fifita welcomed a longer off-season which included returning to a Sydney wellbeing clinic that had helped him overcome personal issues.

"I went back in and I could see how much better I was when I went back in. It was an awesome experience.

"I am doing a diploma in mental health.

"In the off-season I've done a few seminars, just talking about mental health and it's something I want to be in the game. I don't think a lot of people get an understanding of it.

"I'd love to help kids through what they are going through. As a role model of the game my actions off the field have been headlines but they know the real me and that is the main thing."

Fifita's playing future was under a cloud for the 2016 finals series as the NRL integrity unit investigated his on-field display of support of friend and one-punch killer Kieran Loveridge last season.

Fifita insisted there was no bad blood with Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga, who opted not to pick the grand final hero and NSW State of Origin prop for the tour to England due to the integrity unit's ongoing investigation.

"We crossed paths at the All Stars (in February) and shook hands and said hello to each other. I did run off field, and they've got a rule, and rules are rules. That was my mistake," Fifita said.

The 27-year-old accepted he had done the wrong thing, but was keen to get back in the Kangaroos for the mid-year Test in May.

"My game's going OK at the moment and I think I can step it up a bit," he said.

"Hopefully that ANZAC Test, or even that World Cup at the end of the year ... I'd like to go back-to-back. "

Fifita also made the surprise suggestion that Melbourne centre Will Chambers was deserving of the Clive Churchill medal from last year's grand final.

Despite coming up with the premiership-winning try against the Storm, Fifita was controversially overlooked for man-of-the-match honours in favour of teammate Luke Lewis.

"If I could pinpoint someone in that game, I thought Chambers had an awesome game. I know it was in the opposite club - but he was in the middle of everything," Fifita said.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.

Multicultural Mental Health Australia www.mmha.org.au.

Local Aboriginal Medical Service available from www.vibe.com.au.

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