Fitzgibbon backs Roosters to crow again - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fitzgibbon backs Roosters to crow again

By Adrian Warren 04/09/2009 05:58:58 PM Comments (0)

Departing Roosters stalwart Craig Fitzgibbon says it won't be hard for the controversy-plagued NRL club to turn their culture around.

The classy back rower will make his final appearance for the Roosters at home to North Queensland on Sunday before joining English club Hull.

The 32-year-old goal-kicking forward was one of the pivotal members of the powerful club which reached four grand-finals in five years earlier in the decade.

A proud competitor who hates losing, Fitzgibbon said he was frustrated and disappointed by a season that will end with the Roosters vying with Cronulla for the wooden spoon.

While conceding they needed an overhaul, Fitzgibbon stressed new coach Brian Smith had a good record of building clubs and had an extremely talented bunch of young players to work with.

While several individuals have been punished for off-field incidents, Fitzgibbon said all players had to share responsibility for the bad on- and off-field form.

"As for the fabric of the team not quite working out, we've all got to take a look at ourselves for that," Fitzgibbon told reporters on Friday.

"In regards to the culture, the dramas we've had, everybody in the club is responsible for that in one way or another so that's not real hard to change.

"I think Brian Smith has rebuilt clubs from the ground up before and I think when he gets here and realises how supremely talented some of these boys are, he will be pretty excited by the challenge."

While Fitzgibbon has never put a foot wrong off the field he cheerfully denied a suggestion that was an "absolute cleanskin" and pointed out players were under much more scrutiny than at the start of his career.

"I wouldn't say I'm a poster boy for clean living, I love having a beer and a good time as much as anyone else," Fitzgibbon said.

"I just think in terms of the timeline for myself and the older players, we were fortunate enough everybody was doing the same thing back in the early and mid 2000s.

"Everybody was out having a beer. When it started that the era was getting more and more professional, I think that started to cease and not as many guys are out partying.

"I think for the young blokes coming through now there's still plenty of opportunity to have a good time, but there's certainly more scrutiny for them."

With Hull having an option on him for a further year, Fitzgibbon stressed he definitely wasn't in wind-down mode.

"I'm not finished yet, I still feel like I'm competitive when I'm playing, so I'm looking ahead more than back.

"I want to go over to England and I want to win some games and hopefully fill a couple of more pages of the scrapbook, so I'm not winding down just yet.

"If I start winding down I might slow right down, so I want to keep going."

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