Warrington Wolves’ NRL recruit Lachlan Fitzgibbon isn’t quite in full flow just yet as he recovers from a shoulder injury picked up Down Under, but is relishing the chance to work under ‘inspirational leader’ Sam Burgess.
The back-rower picked up the issue in what proved to be his final appearance for Newcastle Knights, a thrilling 30-28 win against Canberra Raiders in the play-offs.
Fitzgibbon, along with former Super League Man of Steel Jackson Hastings, would have to sit on the sidelines as the Knights lost out to the New Zealand Warriors the final week having aggravated the same shoulder he’s already had two reconstructions on.
Just under three months on, and a few weeks on from landing in the UK with partner Sophie, he says his recovery is going as well as can be expected.
New Warrington Wolves recruit Lachlan Fitzgibbon provides injury update having landed in UK
Fitzgibbon – who will turn 30 next month – spoke to the media for the first time last week at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Providing an update on his fitness, he said: “I’ll be full noise after Christmas, but the body is feeling really good.
“I’m pretty much doing everything, but I’m pulling back from the full contact stuff a little bit at the moment.
“After Christmas, I’ll be doing everything.”
Australian forward lauds ‘inspirational leader’ Sam Burgess
The 29-year-old was Warrington’s first confirmed addition ahead of 2024, putting pen to paper on a long-term three-year deal back on July 12.
Just 18 days later, while he was still firmly on the other side of the world, Daryl Powell was sacked following the Wolves’ heavy defeat at Wakefield Trinity.
NRL legend Burgess would eventually be named as the man to replace him, and daving squared off against his new boss Down Under, Fitzgibbon can’t wait to glean everything he can from someone he describes as an ‘inspirational leader’.
The New South Wales native added: “To be honest, I didn’t really think about it. After I’d signed, no matter who was going to be the coach, all I was focused on was putting all my energy into the Knights. Once this season came around, then my focus would change.
“It was unfortunate how it ended with Daryl, but Sam coming on board made me even more keen to want to get over, start my journey over here and work under him. He’s an inspirational leader and I’m sure he’ll be successful over here.
“When he first came over (to Australia), he played a bit of back row and a bit of middle – he was the player everybody kind of aspired to be like.
“I got the honour of playing against him a few times at the back end of his career when he was at the Bunnies (South Sydney Rabbitohs) and he was always an imposing figure.
“I faced up against him in one game – he was on the left edge and I was on the right. The Bunnies had a pretty red-hot side that day, but we managed to dust them which was pleasing! It’s funny that now he’s my coach, but he’s an inspiring figure and the first few weeks under him have been great.”