Crichton in awe of Storm juggernaut
Having been on the wrong end of a 64-6 shellacking last weekend, Rabbitohs back-rower Angus Crichton could be excused for resenting the Melbourne Storm.
Instead, the future representative star paid Craig Bellamy's men the ultimate compliment, tipping them to go all the way in 2017 after being pipped in the grand final 12 months ago.
"I think their composure sets them apart. They're so clinical and everyone knows their roles and every player puts in exactly what they have to get the result so it ends up running like a well-oiled machine," Crichton told NRL.com.
"They're a very clinical team, they're a class act and they've got class players in the key positions so I think they've put themselves in good stead coming into the finals and they're definitely the team to beat.
"I always love playing Melbourne because they're the benchmark team so it's a good opportunity to test yourself and see where you're at and take on those big players. As tough as it was on the weekend, it was enjoyable for me to come up against such classy players."
The Storm are six points clear at the top of the Telstra Premiership ladder heading into Round 26 and are unbackable favourites after they ran in 11 tries against the Rabbitohs in one of the most polished performances of the season.
"This year they've just really clicked. They've been so close the last few years and it's probably led them to really wanting to succeed this year and I think you can see that in their performances," George Burgess told NRL.com.
"They've not let much slide in defence and they're the best attacking team in the competition so they're definitely the team to beat this year."
It was a tough night at the office for South Sydney who headed into the game on a three-game winning streak, and while there were few highlights, there was one moment that spoke volumes about the pride the playing group holds in the jersey.
With time ticking down and his side trailing 58-6, Crichton put in a gut-busting chase on Storm winger Suliasi Vunivalu who was forced to kick infield for teammate Josh Addo-Carr who managed to score next to the posts.
It was the sort of one-percenter that can often go unnoticed, but for Crichton it was an opportunity to atone for a disappointing loss.
"I guess part of it is pride," he replied when asked why he bothered to chase the Fijian flyer.
"I'm not going to beat around the bush; that performance was pretty embarrassing. Getting beaten by 50 points is not something that I'm proud of, so any opportunity that I had in that game to turn it around or try to change the game in any little way that I could, I was trying to as much as I could and I guess it showed in that tackle."
The moment wasn't lost on the senior playing group.
"We're trying to build our club on efforts like that," Burgess said.
"To do that chase – no one would have noticed if he didn't do it – shows the sort of person he is. He put it on himself to make the extra effort and get back there so it's great signs for us going into the future and something we have to hold onto if we want to be successful."