Rabbitohs second-rower Angus Crichton.

Crichton desperate to keep 80-minute gig

Breakout South Sydney back-rower Angus Crichton was "devastated" to be overlooked for an NRL spot in Round 1 this year but having earned his way into the starting team he is desperate not to relinquish that spot.

In a team struggling for form and wins, the form of Crichton is one of the brightest spots for Rabbitohs fans.

Since being elevated to the run-on side in Round 6 – and excluding the team's Round 9 horror show loss to Manly – Crichton's form has exploded with an average game time of close to 80 minutes per week, running 138 metres per game and averaging almost 38 tackles. Throw in just over five tackle busts per game and his three tries and it's no wonder coach Michael Maguire has left the Young Cherrypickers junior in the starting side.

"As an edge back-rower you always want to be playing 80, you want to be starting – when I first came to league (from rugby union) that was my goal," Crichton said.

"Always at the forefront of my mind I thought 'that's where I want to be, I want to be that starting No.12 playing 80 every week'."

 


It's a big progression from not even making the team in Round 1.

"I didn't make the 17 in Round 1, I was playing reserve grade so I was pretty cut with that, pretty devastated," Crichton recalled.

"Finally getting back into the side, starting on the bench and now getting that starting position, it's a dream come true really and I'm really loving every week."

Despite his disappointment, Crichton knew the only way to remedy his absence from the top grade to start the season after finishing last year with eight straight NRL games was through hard work.

"I thought I would have been there. I guess [Maguire] swung the way of picking a few more experienced players," Crichton said.

"He said he didn't pick me on the bench because there were a couple of other players there who were more suited to playing on an edge or in the middle if they needed to.

"I completely understood that. At the time I was disappointed because I thought I would have been there but rugby league is week to week, you can work on your game and get back in there and I said to him I don't want to be on the bench, I want to be playing 80 and starting on an edge so now I'm here I have to try and stay there."

Crichton has got plenty of media coverage over his determination to give back to the Indigenous community and his friendship with two young Indigenous men he befriended in his time at Scots College.

It is this sort of work off-field as well as his undeniable quality on it that has his impressed his teammates.

"He's a champion, yeah, a very impressive young man," enthused skipper Sam Burgess.

"He's got a beautiful family. His mum and dad, Charlie and Pip are fantastic people. Good upbringing and he's a joy to have around the place.

"He's playing some good football. He's probably been one of our most consistent players throughout. He's got pride in his performances and wants to make his mark in the game.

"As a senior player that's the most exciting thing to watch is young players come through. They want to be great at the game and make a difference at it.

"He asks a lot of questions, he's also very confident. You certainly need that confidence to back yourself. He's got a lot of respect as well. He's a joy to have around the place."

Veteran Rabbitoh John Sutton agreed Crichton had been among the team's best this year.

"I'm really happy with the way he's going and he's only going to get better," Sutton said.

"Just his athleticism, his strength. He ran 80 the other night to score that try [against Parramatta]. Not many back-rowers could do that these days I don't think. 

"He's been around the squad for a couple of years now and he's very keen to learn, in videos he's always asking questions and really studying hard. He's got the world at his feet, I think he's going to be a great player."