Fittler all but resigned to losing Tupou Glenn Jackson | April 21, 2008 http://www.leaguehq.com.au/news/news/fittler-all-but-resigned-to-losing-tupou/2008/04/20/1208629732433.html If Roosters fans have woken this morning dirty that their side gave up an eight-point lead to capitulate in the second half against Newcastle yesterday, their day will not get any better from the club's admission they have all but given up on re-signing representative second-rower Anthony Tupou. Coach Brad Fittler last night admitted he was almost resigned to losing one of the last marquee players on the market - effectively handing him to Manly. "We're pretty much at the stage where we'll most probably lose him," Fittler told Newcastle radio before kick-off yesterday. "It's no secret to the boys and no secret to anyone out there. It's a shame because he's a champion bloke. "If anyone were to pick him up, I couldn't imagine a better buy this year, next year or years after that." The post-match horizon had, unsurprisingly, not improved his thinking. "At the moment, the salary cap's very limited," he said. "It's extremely disappointing. He's a fantastic person, and a fantastic player." Still, Tupou maintained he had not decided where he would head next season, while Roosters boss Brian Canavan was a little less downbeat about the club's chances of retaining their star back-rower. Canavan will pore over the books again today, however it is becoming increasingly clear the Roosters do not have enough funds under the salary cap - certainly not enough to match the sort of offer being waved at the Test back-rower from the Sea Eagles - unless they can shed some high-priced talent quickly. "We'll revisit it again [today]," he said. But the murky situation involving Tupou was enough for Canavan to call for the scrapping of the current free-for-all transfer system in favour of a post-season window. "We're rushing business decisions," Canavan said, admitting that scenario was evident in Tupou's case. "Often that has a negative outcome for one party or the other." It was a dog of a day all round for the Roosters, especially for halfback Mitchell Pearce, who started it in the running for a State of Origin jumper but ended it with blood on his boots over the critical game-turning play - a missed touch finder which led to the Knights grabbing the lead in the 74th minute. They never surrendered it. "It was just one of them things," Pearce said. "I miskicked it, and they scored off the next set. I've just got to learn from it. I said sorry to the boys. What more can I do? There were a lot more mistakes in the game but it was a big thing. "I don't feel good about it." Fittler, though, maintained the best team won on the day. "At times we looked like the stronger team, but at no stage did we look like the more enthusiastic or the hungrier team," he said. "That's where we've won all our games this year, with our attitude. If there was a 50/50 they just grabbed it. "They won the fight in nearly everything."