Fitzgibbon re-signs with Roosters - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fitzgibbon re-signs with Roosters

By David Beniuk 10/07/2008 04:32:23 PM Comments (0)

Re-born Sydney Roosters skipper Craig Fitzgibbon will play on in 2009, finally sealing a deal with the NRL club on Thursday.

The 31-year-old veteran has extended his contract with the Roosters by a year, capping a stellar season in which he returned to State of Origin football with NSW.

Fitzgibbon, who joined the Roosters in 1999, had been faced with retirement due to salary cap constraints but the club has offloaded forwards Anthony Tupou (Cronulla) and David Shillington (Canberra) for next year.

"I'm glad the process is over and done with, it's been a long process but my heart is with the Roosters and I'm delighted to be staying here for another season," Fitzgibbon said in a statement late Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Roosters say they have put themselves in a position be able to rest players as they head towards an almost-certain spot in the NRL finals.

New Zealand international Sia Soliola has been left out of Friday night's match against the injury-ravaged Gold Coast, and Roosters coach Brad Fittler said his centre could be joined by others in the run home.

"There's some blokes who are carrying injuries and if you can win games it allows you to hold blokes back that are carrying injuries," Fittler said.

"The team have put themselves in a position where hopefully we can rest some players and be smarter with their bodies.

"Whether you call it resting or you call it being out injured, basically they knock themselves about in our game."

The Roosters sit equal top of the NRL ladder with Manly and Cronulla, virtually guaranteeing them a place in the finals.

They will have five of their six State of Origin representatives back on deck on Friday night, but Fittler said they weren't necessarily the players most in need of a break.

"They talk about the mental side of it, that's the thing the players are getting better at," he said.

Fittler said he had not over-emphasised the returns of Braith Anasta, Mitchell Pearce, Craig Fitzgibbon, Anthony Tupou and Willie Mason for the Sydney Football Stadium clash.

"I think sometimes when you comment on those things you're asking for trouble, so basically we're just asking for the same input into training and the same input into the weekend," he said.

Pearce returns with his confidence intact after being part of NSW's series loss in his Origin debut.

"It was a good experience, (I was) disappointed at the time that we lost but I'm over it now and looking forward to this," he said.

"I was pretty happy with my game to be honest, overall."

The Titans, who have lost five of their past six games, will go into the game as rank outsiders with co-captains Scott Prince (arm) and Luke Bailey (foot) watching from the sidelines along with Ashley Harrison (ribs), Mark Minichiello (ankle), Brett Delaney (groin), Luke O'Dwyer (shoulder), Brenton Bowen (cheekbone) and Aaron Cannings (leg).

Josh Graham and Gavin Cooper will form a makeshift centres pairing, while former Test forward Brad Meyers still can't force his way into the side despite the injury crisis.

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