Fitzgibbon 'embarrassed' by Origin snub

Sydney Roosters back-rower Craig Fitzgibbon is set to shelve retirement talk and play on beyond 2009 despite being overlooked for the 40-man NSW State of Origin squad this week.<br><br>The Roosters travel to Cronulla on Saturday in desperate need of a win and with the future of a number of star players in doubt.<br><br>But they will be boosted by the news that Fitzgibbon – a veteran of 248 first grade games – is preparing to open contract negotiations with the club.<br><br>“Nothing is set in stone but at this stage I’m probably going to go around again next season,” Fitzgibbon said.<br><br>“My body feels great – as good as it ever has actually – and I’m still enjoying my football.<br><br>“I’ll sit down with the Roosters in the next few weeks and hopefully we can come to terms on a new deal.<br><br>“I said at the start of the year that I would wait and see how I was feeling after six or seven rounds and I can’t see any reason not to keep playing.”<br><br>Roosters chief executive Steve Noyce said the club had spoken with Fitzgibbon and his manager David Riolo at the start of the season about his plans for 2010 but were yet to discuss anything official.<br><br>“To be honest I don’t know what his plans are yet but he has certainly continued to go out and play some very good football for us this season which is a good sign,” Noyce said.<br><br>“We always said that we wouldn’t make a decision on anything until nine or 10 weeks in and his manager is overseas at the moment but when he returns we can sit down and see where everyone is at.”<br><br>A new contract would no doubt ease the disappointment of missing selection in the NSW Origin squad just six months after playing in Australia’s World Cup squad.<br><br>Fitzgibbon has played 11 games for NSW and 18 Tests but selectors couldn’t find any room for the 31-year-old as they look to end three years of Queensland dominance.<br><br>“I feel like I’m playing some pretty decent football,” Fitzgibbon said.<br><br>“Probably the fact that our form has been a bit patchy played a part – you always look better when your team is winning – but I’m happy with where I’m at.”<br><br>Asked about missing out on the NSW squad, Fitzgibbon said “It’s probably more embarrassing than anything.<br><br>“I don’t know if they’ve decided that I’m too old but they’re obviously going for a younger squad and I can understand their point of view.<br><br>“NSW have lost three series’ in a row and they want to bring in some fresh blood.<br><br>“It would be nice to be involved again but of not, so be it.”<br><br>The Roosters find themselves languishing in 14th on the NRL ladder following three consecutive losses and are facing a must-win game against last-placed Cronulla on Saturday night.<br><br>They have also failed to score a point in their past 120 minutes of football, but Fitzgibbon said they weren’t too far away from finding form.<br><br>“It’s such a close competition that you can be made to look bad if you’re just the slightest bit off your game on the day,” he said.<br><br>“But I thought we were quite good against the Dragons last week, even though the scoreline blew out a bit in the end.<br><br>“We just need to keep working hard on a few areas and things will come together for us.”<br><br><br>Late news:<br><br>•&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Penrith fullback Lachlan Coote will play against the Raiders after being cleared of a neck injury;<br>•&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Wests Tigers forward Chris Heighington is expected to play despite being sidelined for the week with an ankle injury; and<br>•&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;The Warriors will welcome back fullback Wade McKinnon this week with utility Lance Hohaia also included in the 17-man squad to take on St George Illawarra.