New Warrington Wolves recruit Lachlan Fitzgibbon says that dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s on his Warrington Wolves contract so early in the year allowed his move from Down Under to be a ‘pretty smooth’ one.
The 29-year-old’s deal with the Wire was signed, sealed and delivered on July 12, before Daryl Powell had even lost his job as head coach.
While the Wolves finished off the remainder of their Super League campaign under interim head coach Gary Chambers, Fitzgibbon remained focused on the task at hand back in the NRL, helping boyhood club Newcastle Knights into the semi-finals of the play-offs.
Skip forward a little over six months since his signing, and Fitzgibbon – along with his partner – has now made the move over, currently going through pre-season with a Warrington squad now headed up by NRL great Sam Burgess as the Aussie recovers from a shoulder injury.
Lachlan Fitzgibbon details how Warrington Wolves helped make his move from the NRL ‘pretty smooth’
Having come through their ranks, back-rower Fitzgibbon – who moved to Newcastle as a youngster – made his NRL debut at the back end of the 2015 campaign, and until this point has stayed with the club ever since.
Speaking to the English media for the first time at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, the new recruit was asked about how penning his deal so early proved a beneficial thing.
He said: “I’m sure any player would probably agree that if you have contract security, the pressure’s off. For me, even though I was heading overseas, I was playing pressure-free footy.
“Our team as a whole was doing the same. Personally, finishing the season on a high was a really big goal for me knowing I was coming over here. It did take the pressure off.
“It (the deal) was pretty smooth. It doesn’t always happen smoothly and it can get a little ugly with contracts and players wanting to leave early.
“Having been at the Knights for so long, for me it was pretty graceful. My time was up there, they were super honest with me, and I was with them.
“What made the transition easier for me was the way I finished there. We had a pretty good run leading into the semi-finals, it was just unfortunate that I got injured in that second semi (against the New Zealand Warriors).”
Fitzgibbon reveals in-depth research into Warrington before opting to join Wolves
Another of the Wire’s NRL recruit this off-season – Zane Musgrove – revealed that he’d spoken to former Wolves favourite Ben Murdoch-Masila ahead of joining the club.
Fitzgibbon – who will turn 30 in January – didn’t detail any chats, but says he made an informed choice when choosing Warrington, owing to research he’d done off his own back.
He continued: “I already knew a bit about Super League, as I’d always watch it from afar. I didn’t really have a team – I just knew the type of teams that had been going good over the past few years.
“We (Newcastle Knights) had Blake Green as our assistant coach and he spoke about Wigan (Warriors), so I did a lot of research about the league and the clubs over here.”