TWO of Bathurst Bulldogs' most decorated modern legends added more individual accolades to their name following their side's big Blowes Cup grand final triumph over the Orange Emus on Saturday.
The Country Cockatoos representative duo showed why they earned that higher honour with their efforts not only in Saturday's game but throughout the Bulldogs superb 2023 campaign.
It's a prize that means a lot to Fitzsimmons after helping the Bulldogs secure their first back-to-back title effort in 25 years.
"Since I came to a club in 2011 the thing I always heard was 'Bulldogs are a good side, they're a good club but they just haven't had that run of dominance'," he said.
"There was seasons where they'd win one but drop off, so now I think we've taken a huge step towards not being in that position.
"We can call ourselves the best club in the competition, which is a huge thing for us leading in the 150th year for the club next season. We couldn't be in a better position, going back to back and chasing three in a row."
A back-to-back title looked virtually assured when Bulldogs ran out to a 32-6 half-time lead, but two quick converted tries to Emus after half-time forced the home side to regather themselves.
Once Bulldogs built up possession they once again became an unstoppable force in attack.
"When we had the momentum and possession that we did for the first 15 minutes that's eventually going to swing and turn back around, and we maybe we didn't react to that as well as we could have but we worked hard to put ourselves into a position where, maybe, it wouldn't matter," Fitzsimmons said.
"We were never expecting a perfect game, we were just planning to be better than what we were two years ago. I think we definitely achieved that."
Meanwhile's Plummer's rare back-to-back grand final accolades marks him as one of the best big-game players in the competition's recent history.
He said he wouldn't be so determined to get the most out of his game if it weren't for the supportive and fun club around him.
"It's just an awesome group to be a part of. It's the best side that I've been a part of, a very tight knit and young group," he said.
"It's fun to go to training and fun to rock up to games early together. I think that's why we've been so committed and able to implement structures because we like being together."
The ever-dangerous centre was at the forefront of several threatening passages of play for the Bulldogs throughout the game, often drawing the attention of an extra defender to stop his runs.
He also came away with a try, finding space down the left wing to score the Bulldogs' second five-pointer of the match.
It was another rock solid performance to add to his growing list of great games but Plummer was quick to put forward one of his teammates as a deserving winner for his award.
"It's just nice to feel like you're contributing to a gun side," he said.
"I thought Sione [Naufahu] had a cracking game for us, but I'm fairly sure a yellow card makes you not eligible, otherwise he probably wins it. He was deadly off the back of the scrum. He carried that ball for so many post-contact metres.
"It's sort of sad that it took us until the grand final to put him at the back of the scrum but he was an absolute weapon there today. It was awesome to watch."
Plummer said some classic grand final grit was needed to get out of their uneasy position early in the second half.
"I don't know if we've ever pieced together a full 80 minute game - and I'm not sure if I ever will - but the 50 or so minutes of great footy we played today was good enough to get the win on the board."