retires, Fitzgibbon considering

Newcastle captain Andrew Johns has formally requested to step down from representative football in a letter penned to the Australian Rugby League.

Johns played his farewell Test in Australia's 50-12 victory against New Zealand last Friday, but needed to put in an official written request in order to stand down from representative duty. In a letter to ARL chief executive Geoff Carr, the 31-year-old says his body is no longer up to the rigours of playing for NSW and Australia.

Meanwhile, Country lock Craig Fitzgibbon is desperate to force his way into a NSW Origin jumper with a barnstorming performance against City after revealing this could be his last year of representative football.

Fitzgibbon, who is likely to play in the traditional clash on Friday night despite battling an ankle injury, said 2006 could be his last chance to wear the sky blue jersey. The veteran of 15 Tests and eight Origin matches says he'll review whether to continue his representative career at the end of the season.