Lachlan Fitzgibbon wants to be a one-club man, he wants to win an NRL premiership and he wants to reach the representative ranks – all while playing at the Newcastle Knights.
Three years on from his first grade debut, the South Newcastle junior can now continue making those dreams reality after inking a deal that keeps him at his hometown club until the end of 2021.
“It’s my hometown, it’s where all my family is and it’s my favourite town on earth,” Fitzgibbon said on Tuesday.
“I grew up supporting the Knights and I think from day dot if I was ever going to play in the NRL I’d want to be with the Knights.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play for the last three or four years and I’m even luckier now that I get to play here for another extended period of time.”
After day two of pre-season training at Knights headquarters in Mayfield, Fitzgibbon said he was relived to sign the contract now rather than later down the track.
“It’s been dragging out probably for a couple of months now,” he said.
“I’m just so happy to finally get it done. It’s a monkey off the back moving into pre-season. Now I can look forward to the 2019 season.”
The 24-year-old said he made “no secret” of wanting to stay in Newcastle, with his current deal finishing at the end of 2019, but had spent the last month “dotting the Is and crossing the Ts” of a new agreement.
And the second-rower, who has 18 tries from 41 NRL appearances, doesn’t intend on leaving anytime soon.
“You never know where life and footy will take you,” he said.
“But I will be here [Newcastle] until I’m at least 26 or 27 years old.
“From then who knows. Hopefully I can stay at the club longer. I think it’s everyone’s dream to play for their childhood club and not only play for them but play out their career there.”
Fitzgibbon feels the Knights, who last won a title in 2001, are building towards something “special” after finishing 11th this year in the wake of three straight wooden spoons.
“Each year I get older I want to be improving and I want to be in a side that’s improving as well and pushing towards making finals footy and hopefully win a comp one day,” he said.
Fitzgibbon said representative honours hadn’t been on his personal radar previously, but over the next few years hoped to “set it as a goal of mine”.
He also said it would be an “honour to one day captain the club or even be in a leadership role”.
As for potentially playing alongside Canterbury, NSW and Australian prop David Klemmer, who has been strongly linked with the Knights from late last week.
“He [Klemmer] is obviously a quality player and he’s an international forward … and he would make a big impact to our side,” Fitzgibbon said.
“If we do manage to snag a player of his calibre that would be good.”
Meanwhile, the 2018 Jersey Flegg player of the year Beau Femor has extended his deal with the Knights until the end of 2020.
Last year Femor arrived in Newcastle from the Melbourne Storm with the back-rower representing Queensland under 20s and finishing the state age group competition as the leading try scorer.
The Knights made the announcement on Tuesday and said Femor would join the club’s NRL squad next season.