What Origin Means To... Craig Fitzgibbon
It's Origin III, 2004. The biggest and ugliest from either side of the Tweed have had a good 14 minutes to dust the dandruff from each other's shoulders, rattle the fillings and have the 82,487 packed into ANZ Stadium for Brad Fittler's second Origin swansong foaming at the mouth for more.
Steve Price tucks the ball under his arm, gives the pull string a good yank and begins to whirr away up field, only to promptly wind up on his backside. Shane Webcke takes the pill, and makes a beeline for the sky blue wall ahead, but is cut down before he makes it even halfway there. Ditto Cameron Smith, this time scooting from dummy-half. Mick Crocker. Petero Civoniceva. Both get a dose of the same medicine, from the same doctor as the previous three.
Craig Fitzgibbon has just produced the perfect defensive set of six in less than 60 seconds, cutting down five players who will go on to rack up 126 games in the Maroon jumper in successive tackles. And then hassles Smith into kicking the ball dead on the sixth, just for fun.
"I've been hit in the head too much I'm struggling to piece it all together, and can't remember that one," laughs Fitzgibbon.
"But I tell you what I do remember from that one; I played basically the full game, but I got pulled off with a few minutes to go and I was really upset because I wanted to be out there at the end.