Light-bulb week to make or break Fitzy's NRL career

There have been two defining times in the career of Lachlan Fitzgibbon.

The first was in late 2014 when he was weighing up whether to take a train and trial deal with the Knights or head to America to study abroad.

As a 20-year-old, it was a call he struggled make.

He was no longer eligible for the 20s competition, not offered a fulltime deal and it was almost November when he was asked if he wanted to join the squad to train.

No guarantees. Just two months of hard work.

“As bad as it sounds, it was a real tough decision for me,” Fitzgibbon told the Our Town Our Team podcast.

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That was until his father Mark got in his ear.

“He kind of slapped me out of it,” he continued.

“He said ‘you’ve got this opportunity of a lifetime… don’t look at it being just til Christmas, look at it for the next 10-15 years and don’t look short-term, look long-term.

“I was tossing it up… as it was, I chose to take up that train and trial contract with the Knights and I’m bloody glad I did.”

He was kept on for the remainder of the pre-season and secured himself a deal for 2015.

He made his NRL debut in Round 21 of that season.

He was on his way … until the next moment came.

In many respects, was the most important of his career.

At a crossroads of sorts, Fitzgibbon had played several top-grade games but needed to take his football to the next level or risk fading away.

“There was probably question marks raised about my want and ability,” he said.

The 25-year-old recalls the week vividly.

It was a time where he made a commitment to himself and he’s never looked back.

“It wasn’t til I played five or six games in 2016 all off the bench and we had a tough year,” he said.

“In 2017, that was my last year on contract. I started the year in reserve grade but I was playing some good footy.

“I got my opportunity in Round 7 or 8. That was my first game in first grade in about a year. I knuckled down. It was kind of make or break. It was my last year on contract.

“I’m 23, I’m old enough now. That was probably the lightbulb week for myself. Browny gave me the opportunity to start in the backrow.”

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