Fitzgibbon back in starting side - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fitzgibbon back in starting side

By Brent Read 23/09/2003 06:56:51 PM Comments (0)

Sydney Roosters forward Craig Fitzgibbon completed his remarkable comeback from knee surgery when he was named in the starting side for the first time in more than two months.

Fitzgibbon, who underwent surgery on his left knee in July, was selected in the second row for Saturday night's National Rugby League preliminary final against the Bulldogs at Aussie Stadium.

The 26-year-old returned only three weeks ago and played against Canberra and Newcastle - in the club's opening finals game - off the interchange bench.

But coach Ricky Stuart had no hesitation in promoting the NSW and Australian forward to the starting 13 at the expense of another State of Origin player, Queensland's Michael Crocker.

"It's a lot better after the fortnight off," Fitzgibbon said.

"The only downside is match fitness. By the same token, by having a week off I'm a bit stronger and feel a bit fresher."

Fitzgibbon was initially expected to miss most of the finals after injuring his knee at Suncorp Stadium in the Roosters' round 18 loss to the Broncos.

But he managed to come back well ahead of schedule and is excited about his return to the starting side.

"It's good that he's feeling that way," Stuart said.

"It was important that he got some football before the semi-finals and that's why we played him against Canberra."

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