Crichton's call to play through stress fracture
South Sydney back-rower Angus Crichton says it is purely his call to continue playing with a stress fracture in his foot and wouldn't hesitate to call for a rest if it looked like the injury was getting worse or if it was too hard to play through.
Crichton picked up the injury against the Titans in Round 15 (a game in which he starred with a match-winning hat-trick) but has played 70 minutes, then 80 minutes and 80 again in the three games since.
"I've just got a bit of a sore foot," Crichton shrugged when quizzed by NRL.com on the moon boot he wore to a club media session on Tuesday.
"I picked it up against the Titans about a month ago. I wear this during the week and try and get as many sessions as I can in. With the five-day turnaround we don't have much time off so I rest up during the week and get myself right for Friday against the Sharks."
He said there is "a little fracture in there" but believes it is safe to continue playing through the pain.
"I think it's pretty stable. I've been running around on it all right," he said.
"At first I didn't know it was a fracture so I trained a few times and it was pretty sore; I had a couple of days off and it wasn't getting too much better.
"I think I've found a good mix at the moment just resting it during the week and trying to get the right amount of training in so that I'm ready and prepared for the games. Just trying to put in my best performance despite having a bit of a sore foot. That's my main focus is just managing it right so that I can play well on the field and just trying to get that balance right.
"I've played with it the last two or three weeks and I'm getting through the 80 with it. Injuries are a part of footy I think and trying to get through them and managing them properly is the best way to go about it.
"Especially when you're a young player trying to make a bit of a name for yourself, you've got to take your opportunities when you've got them. I've got a fair opportunity on my hands and I just don't want to let it slip."
 Crichton Angus - Rabbitohs
Crichton said the club medical staff had been good with helping him manage the injury.
"It's 100 per cent my decision to keep playing. If it was ever getting too much I'd be the first to put my hand up and say I need a rest. It's all on my terms," he added.
"Injuries like this you can't really tell what's going to happen so it's kind of [a case of] play and see how it pulls up after every game and monitor it as the games come and as the sessions string together.
"The last three weeks has been good getting through the games and feeling all right at the end of it. Making sure I can rest it and get the best performance on the weekend is my biggest goal."
Crichton was more concerned with the team's loss to the Cowboys on the weekend that has their spluttering 2017 season on life support, needing close to a win in every game from here on to have a chance at September footy.
"It's 100 per cent do or die [from here on]," he said.
"It was do or die last week and we didn't get the job done. It's frustrating but this week we've got to show up and there's no two ways about it.
"Sharks at Shark Park, it will be my first game out there. I enjoy playing at those little suburban grounds, the heartland of the club, it's always good fun and it will be a good turnout from the Sharks fans. I love hearing the opposition fans, it gets my going a bit so it should be good."
Despite an amazing breakout season, the 21-year-old remained critical of his own form, insisting he had yet to put a complete game together.
Prompted about his Round 15 stunner against the Titans in which he broke the all-time record for highest ever NRL Fantasy score for his haul of three tries, four line breaks, 27 tackles, 200 metres and whopping 12 tackle busts, Crichton maintained he still had areas to work on.
"Yeah, even that game!" he laughed.
"I'm a pretty harsh critic on myself so even that game I've got lines I would have liked to have run better and tackles I would have loved to have made.
"Same old story from last week, I've got to keep on finding little bits of my game where I can improve and improve on that and I think hopefully if I keep on doing that my performance will on getting better and better."