Warrington Wolves recruit Lachlan Fitzgibbon highlights similarities between new club and former side Newcastle Knights: ‘It’s made it easy’

Ben Olawumi
Lachlan Fitzgibbon

Lachlan Fitzgibbon in training - Photo: Warrington Wolves

New Warrington Wolves signing Lachlan Fitzgibbon says the similarities between the town and his former home Newcastle, Down Under, have made the move ‘easy’ for him and his partner.

The back-rower was the Wire’s first confirmed recruit for 2024, putting pen to paper on his deal to make the switch to Super League with them from next year back in July.

At senior level, the 29-year-old has only ever donned one club’s shirt before – that of the Newcastle Knights, his boyhood club.

A new challenge now awaits, one of eight brought in by Warrington for the upcoming season as they look to improve on a topsy-turvy year this term under the guidance of new head coach Sam Burgess, a man he deems ‘inspirational’.

England and Great Britain legend Burgess spent more than a decade Down Under himself, and has utilised his knowledge of the NRL to bring over Zane Musgrove from St George Illawarra Dragons as well as Fitzgibbon. In terms of overseas stars, Rodrick Tai has also been recruited from the PNG Hunters.

Lachlan Fitzgibbon details reasons behind move to Super League and Warrington Wolves from boyhood club Newcastle Knights

Speaking to the media – including Love Rugby League – at the Halliwell Jones Stadium about his move, Fitzgibbon said: “I’d been at the Knights for over 10 years having come through as a junior, and I probably didn’t see myself playing for another NRL club. I’m a pretty proud Novacastrian.

“I always thought Super League was on my radar and when I signed, Warrington were going really well. With where we (the Knights) were sitting in our season, it was a bit of a grind early on.

“Rugby league’s funny in that it works in little windows, and for myself and my partner, it felt like the perfect time to head overseas for a new challenge. I’m still super-pumped about it and I can’t wait to get out there.

“It’s just the two of us and we’ve got the world at our feet. She’s loving it over here too – it’s still early days and we’re still finding our feet, but we both really enjoy getting in and around the community and getting involved.

“I spoke to numerous players and I’ve got a few good mates playing over here – Luke Yates is ex-Newcastle, as is Sione Mata’utia.

“I spoke to them, Jackson Hastings had a good Super League career as well so I bounced a lot of ideas of him.

“I spoke to some former players as well like Kurt Gidley, so I bounced ideas off a lot of people back home. I found myself here and I’m glad I did.”

Fitzgibbon highlights similarities between towns of Warrington and Newcastle as he discusses move over from Australia: ‘It’s made it easy’

Having moved to the Aussie town Newcastle from North Sydney as a youngster, and played junior rugby league for local outfit South Newcastle Lions, Fitzgibbon was then pinned down by NRL side Newcastle Knights.

Progressing through the ranks with the Knights, the homegrown ace would debut amongst Australia’s elite at the back end of the 2015 season, and accrue over a century of NRL appearances before departing at the end of the campaign just gone.

Accordingly, as noted above, he is a self-proclaimed ‘proud Novacastrian’, but says he’s quickly settled into the Warrington lifestyle, praising the similarities between the town and his roots.

Fitzgibbon continued: “Warrington’s a great town – a beautiful place with rich history. It reminds me a lot of Newcastle – it’s a blue-collar (working class) town with a working history, and it’s a one-club town.

“I found a lot of comparables, so that’s what’s made the move so easy for me. Newcastle is a pretty proud town, a steelwork town and a one-club town.

“There’s no other clubs really nearby – you have to travel a little bit to get into Sydney – and they love their footy. From the research I’ve done, Warrington have got one of the best fanbases over here, and it’s the same for Newcastle back home.

“They’re very similar towns and communities.”

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