Crichton heroics impress Blues coach Fittler
NSW coach Brad Fittler says he's seen enough of Angus Crichton's commitment to the game to put the South Sydney Rabbitohs back-rower right in the mix of the Blues jersey in 2018.
Crichton was one of 38 players selected by Fittler to take part in the emerging Blues camp held in Sydney on Saturday, and his decision to amputate a finger in the off-season in a bid to play for the Bunnies in round one resulted in a glowing endorsement from the Blues' mentor.
Fittler was quick to talk up Crichton's chances of a representative debut, while also commenting on the in-demand forward's move to the Sydney Roosters from 2019.
"He sacrificed a finger, so anyone who does that for a game of rugby league is going to do good things," Fittler said.
"He's super impressive and he's going to the Roosters … how good."
Fittler opted for a legends-heavy approach, with several former Origin legends taking players through some drills with feedback, before a recovery session and presentation.
Immortal Andrew Johns was one of the first on the paddock for the session. Newly appointed assistant coach Danny Buderus was also joined by Anthony Minichiello, Mark O'Meley, Craig Fitzgibbon, Matt King and Paul Sironen.
North Queensland Cowboys General Manager Peter Parr made the trip south in a clear sign Fittler isn't mucking around ahead of the 2018 series.
"With State of Origin we've got to respect it," Fittler said.
"Hopefully they can learn something about one of these old players.
"The pre-seasons are so intense for players now, so we appreciate the clubs allowing them to come out. We've got some high-quality ex-players here so if they listen hard enough they'll find and take something out of today."
Fittler said it was important young players are educated on Origin culture. The camps offered a perfect opportunity to have everyone on the same page.
"The important thing is the best Origin players are always the best club players," Fittler said.
"The best club players are the best trainers, so it's just about being teammates and working hard for each other.
"It's not as easy as it sounds, you turn up on a hot day like this having that same attitude. That's the thing you try to train them.
"Given they're so young and playing first grade I'm sure people have already told them. If we can get them coming together with a similar mindset and being good at the small things that don't care to other people, that's important."
Sydney Roosters centre Latrell Mitchell was the sole player who missed the camp from the original 39-man squad named, while Newcastle Knights prop Daniel Saifiti, along with a host of players on light duties after off-season surgeries, attended but watched on from the sidelines.