Fitzy speaks of challenges ahead in WCC clash with Wigan

He's not quite sure how it happened but Assistant Coach Craig Fitzgibbon speaks glowingly of the Tricolours last victory in the World Club Challenge, a 38-0 win over St Helens back in 2003.


Reflecting back on the clash at a freezing Reebok Stadium in Bolton, Fitzgibbon said a terrible trial game leading up to the decider and a long off-season had the team worried before they put in a vintage performance that will be remembered by Roosters fans forever.


"I remember we had one half of a trial game and we didn't play that well at all and we were missing some staff and it was freezing over there and the fields were rock hard," he said.


"St Helens were coming in to the game full of confidence and they were pretty much the Great Britain team at the time,"


That is of course with the exception of one very tough Englishman.


"One thing we did have was that Adrian Morley was incredibly pumped to go home and play in the Roosters colours that he was incredibly proud of."


"Somehow when it came to the big game we just turned it on and found our rhythm straight away and it was a memorable performance."


"It was a big win for us because once you taste success you want it to keep going and our coaches at the time were very intense and refused to lose any game."


Fast forward ten years and not much has changed.


The Tricolours will go in to February's clash with Wigan desperate to continue their winning ways, the only difference being a 50 metre walk from Roosters HQ to Allianz Stadium is the only travelling the current group have to encounter, not that Fitzgibbon is concerned.


"I loved the trip as a player but to be honest I'm happy it's not on as a coach which is selfish but it will be good for us," he said.


"It's a very tough challenge at this stage of the year but the players are really looking forward to the challenge."


With a fresh pre-season underway and all eyes now firmly focused on 2014, the game will be the Tricolours first chance to show what they are capable of in the new year.


"As a group we are very proud of the standards we met last season and we are excited to live up to them again next season," Fitzgibbon said.


Standing in our way of victory is a determined Wigan side who will no doubt be keen to prove themselves on the other side of the world, especially with the additions of new signings Matt Bowen and Eddy Pettybourne.


"They are a tough side Wigan as are a number of the English teams," Fitzgibbon said, himself a veteran of 44 games for Hull in the English Super League.


"You only have to see how well the English boys are going in the NRL to realise how good the teams and players are over there."



The World Club Challenge will be contested on Australian soil for the first time in two decades, when the NRL Premiers Sydney Roosters host English Super League Champs, Wigan Warriors, on Saturday February 22, 2014 at Allianz Stadium with the match kicking off at approximately 7.30pm AEDST.


From Monday November 25 to January 7, Roosters and Wigan Members will be able to claim their seat to the clash, the first World Club Challenge to be played in Australia since the 1994 match between Wigan and the Broncos at Brisbanes then ANZ Stadium.


Other NRL Club members will have a brief purchasing window from January 8 while non-ticketed fans will be able to buy tickets when they are released to the general public from January 13, 2014.


Tickets for the clash can be purchased from Ticketek AU.


CLICK HERE for Ticketing Information, including prices and categories.


CLICK HERE to see the Allianz Stadium Map, including Chook Pen and Wigan Bay location, for the World Club Challenge.