HE’S the Hull FC captain who never fails to lead by example.
Craig Fitzgibbon is not only a loose-forward possessing the silkiest of skills, but a tackling machine who has put in over 50 hits in a game on a number of occasions.
Those qualities during a distinguished career in the Australian NRL with Illawarra Steelers, St George and Sydney City Roosters helped him become a key member of the Australia Test team.
He is also a top-quality goalkicker and, in August 2006, he became the highest scoring forward in Australian NRL history, surpassing ex-Canberra Raiders back-rower David Furner’s previous best 1,218.
But he moved to Hull at the start of last season, and such was his influence on the black and whites that he was appointed captain for 2011.
RICHARD AGAR has now been at Hull for six years, taking over as temporary head coach in 2006 after the departure of John Kear and leading them to three wins out of four while in charge.
He then reverted back to be the assistant to Peter Sharp from March 2006 until May 2008, when he was handed the head coach role.
Despite a horror injury list he guided Hull to the Carnegie Challenge Cup final at Wembley against St Helens and the former half-back is now widely regarded as one of the best young British coaches in the game.
IT’S not been the greatest of starts for Hull FC.
On the opening weekend of the season they threw away a 16-point lead before going down 34-22 to arch city rivals Hull KR at the Millennium Stadium.
And last Friday it became two defeats from two Super League XVI fixtures with the 32-18 home defeat to a relatively makeshift and battered Leeds Rhinos.
It was a contest they never really looked like winning, and confidence could be fairly low when they make the trip to the Galpharm on Sunday.
Coach Richard Agar was no doubt hoping that by keeping new signings to a minimum this year, his side would hit the ground running, with no need for players to gel.
Apart from highly-rated back-rower Joe Westerman and Harlequins winger Will Sharp, the Airlie Birds have kept faith with the vast majority of last season’s squad, although they did last week pounce to bring in Wakefield’s exciting hooker or half-back Sam Obst.
But so far the Hull class of 2011 has yet to show their true potential.
Giants: Grix, Lawrence, Cudjoe, Gilmour, Hodgson, Brown, Brough, Crabtree, Griffin, O’Donnell, Fa’alogo, Faiumu, Lunt, Mason, Patrick, Horne, McGillvary, Carlile, Molloy.
Hull FC: Whiting, Sharp, Manu, Yeaman, Briscoe, Turner, Long, O’Meley, Houghton, Radford, Westerman, Tickle, Fitzgibbon, Moa, Washbrook, Lauaki, Obst.
Referee: Robert Hicks.
Video referee: Richard Cowling.