The best year of Andrew Fifita's life just keeps getting better.

And the rising Cronulla prop is hoping there are plenty of highlights still to come after making an impressive debut for Australia at the Rugby League World Cup.

Fifita delivered a strong performance off the bench to help Australia recover from a poor start in a hard-fought opening 28-20 win over England in Cardiff on Saturday.

The 24-year-old is now setting his sights on retaining his place in the side through to the business end of the tournament.

"It was one of the best things in the world," Fifita said of his debut at Millennium Stadium.

"It was a good hit-out and I'm happy with how I played.

"It was in the back of my head that I could possibly lose my spot if I didn't perform.

"To have England in your pool and to play them first game and to get picked for it, I was just extremely happy for that.

"I took advantage of that and I don't want to let go of my spot. I want to stay up here."

Fifita said he felt "goose bumps every five metres" as he walked on to the pitch and the 80-minute match "felt like it went by in about two minutes".

It was yet another special moment in a year Fifita says could not have been more perfect, on and off the field.

As well as cracking into representative football with NSW and now Australia, Fifita has had a life-changing year away from sport.

He married partner Nikkita earlier this month and the pair have an 11-month old son, Latu Jay.

Fifita says his stable home life and becoming a father are behind his incredible achievements on the field.

"It's been the best year of my life; I even get goose bumps saying it," Fifita said.

"I really am that gob smacked about the year I've had, and all my dreams have come true in one year.

"Full credit to the wife, she's done a lot for me in the past year - she gave me my first child and there is nothing in this world I can give back to say thank you.

"I get emotional about it; I've got my son and he's changed my life."

Fifita will be joined by his wife and son in the UK in two weeks' time.

"His first birthday is coming up and I didn't want to miss it - it'll be one of the best trips," he said.

Australia coach Tim Sheens has indicated Fifita will get more game time in next Saturday's group match against Fiji in St Helens.

But the player has no ambitions for a starting spot, relishing the impact role he has carried out so successfully all season.

"I see my strongest game in coming off the bench," Fifita said.


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