Former Hull FC man, Craig Fitzgibbon, has spoken about the love he found for England during his two-year playing stint.
Fitzgibbon is currently coaching Cronulla Sharks and led the side to a second place finish in his first season as a head coach in 2022.
Having played 229 games for Sydney Roosters and made 44 appearances for Hull, the former Kangaroos forward has learnt from some brilliant coaches – notably former Leeds Rhinos bosses, Graham Murray, under whom Fitzgibbon won a Grand Final, and Richard Agar, during his spell in England with teh Black and Whites.
Speaking to St Helens and England legend James Graham on his podcast, The Bye Round, Fitzgibbon spoke positively on his Super League experience.
Fitzgibbon stated: “I loved it. I felt like I needed to get away from the Roosters before taking a (coaching) position but I had two of the most enjoyable years of my career there, absolutely loved it.
“The footy was good, I loved the club. Hull FC were great and we had a good crew. Myself and Ogre, Mark O’Meley, we had Willie Manu, Sammy Moa and big Hame Lauaki. Sean Long was there for a year, you know Longy from your time at Saints.”
Despite that list of talented and powerful names, his time in England didn’t see much success on the field with Hull FC losing in the first round of the play-offs in both years, once to city rivals Hull Kingston Rovers and once to Leeds Rhinos – who also knocked them out of the Challenge Cup in both 2010 and 2011.
Fitzgibbon had also referenced earlier the brutal end to his career which came during his time with Hull.
“When you finish, you realise it happens real quick. You might know it’s coming, I knew I was going to finish as I was physically shot. But I finished laying on the floor in Hull with a broken leg and had shoulder surgery a week later.”
All told Fitzgibbon was clearly very positive on his time in England and there could well be a member of his family representing England in the future.
“It was a life experience, I went with my wife and two kids and I came back with three so I’ve got a little whinging Pom on my hands at home, so yeah I’ll always have a connection to the area. I loved it.”
Fitzgibbon will now head into the 2023 season hoping to replicate his first season success, whilst also adding a playoff win to his resume.