Lachlan Fitzgibbon epitomises what it is to be a Novocastrian.
Tough, reliable and loyal, the local junior wears the red and blue as a badge of honour.
Fitzgibbon will don the colours for another two seasons after signing a multi-year extension tying him to the Club until at least the end of the 2023 season.
The 27-year-old said he was ecstatic with the new deal.
“I’m a Novocastrian boy, local junior and I couldn’t see myself playing in any other colours,” Fitzgibbon said.
“I’m just happy to be staying here for another two years.
“We’re starting to see the improvement in the squad over the past 18 to 24 months under Adam (O’Brien).
“I’m looking at bigger and better things over the next few years.”
Fitzy's locked in
Fitzgibbon has grown to become a pivotal figure in the line-up as a hard-running second-row forward.
‘Fitzy’ emerged from the 2015 grand-final winning NSW Cup side and made his senior debut in the same season.
However, it was a brutal introduction to the top grade for the Souths Newcastle junior.
Alongside a few of the current players, Fitzgibbon was a part of a few barren years for the Club, enduring three wooden spoons in a row.
In his first two years, the local lad didn’t taste a single victory with his beloved Knights, albeit only playing six games.
Fitzgibbon believes those years helped shape the player he is today, hungry for success.
“It built a lot of resilience amongst us players and a real hunger and drive to want to win,” Fitzgibbon said.
“I don’t think I won many games in my first 20 or 30 odd games, so it built a lot of resolve.
“When I first came through, there was a lot of change over, not only in staff but players too.
“We had to rebuild as a club and bring a lot of younger boys through.
“Now I think we’re older and more experienced. It certainly helps the team.”
Fitzgibbon has played a significant role in the rebound of the Club.
He had a breakout season in 2017, becoming a first-grade regular scoring eight tries from the second-row.
The last two seasons have brought more joy to Newcastle fans, with ‘Fitzy’ getting his first taste of semi-final football last season.
The forward says the emergence and development of the local players and quality acquisitions have been a critical ingredient in the change in fortunes.
“The induction of quality established first-graders and the development of the boys from a few years back has all married together really well,” Fitzgibbon said.
“We haven’t done anything crazy yet, but two back-to-back finals series is something to be proud of.”
The experienced forward has played 89 games for the Knights and is approaching the 100 game milestone.
Nearing his 30’s, the Merewether local says he doesn’t want to leave anytime soon.
It’s now a dream of his to finish his career as a one-club player.
“I’ve been playing at the Knights since I was at 18, so it’s going on 10 years,” Fitzgibbon said.
“At the end of this contract, I will be 30 years old, and I would love to finish my career in Newcastle.
“But I’m not looking too far into the future just yet. I’m just focused on getting the body right.
As for on-field dreams, you can bet there is one huge goal at the top of the list.
“I think the goal of any organisation is to be winning the trophy at the end of the year,” Fitzgibbon said.
“We’re not going to be satisfied with just making the semis.
“We want to be winning competitions.
“Everyone is moving and striving in the right direction.”