Crichton 2.0: Murray knocked back Waratahs for Souths
Just like Angus Crichton, Cameron Murray knocked back serious interest from the NSW Waratahs to find his home in the Rabbitohs back row and earn billing as a future cardinal and myrtle captain.
Unlike Crichton, 20-year-old Murray can't ever see himself leaving the Burrow, not even if arch-rivals the Roosters come knocking as they did with four of his fellow Souths juniors a couple of years ago.
Murray has had the Bunnies in his blood since the day he was born, with dad Corey playing 12 games for Souths during the early 90s and sister Bryanna also running around in for their womens' teams.
A meeting with NSW Super Rugby coach Daryl Gibson couldn't sway him either, with the talented Newington College inside centre always considering himself a Rabbitoh through and through.
"We met with the Tahs and he had to make a decision, the same sort of thing as Angus Crichton you'd say," Murray's manager Steve Gillis told NRL.com.
"The Waratahs were very keen and we met with Daryl Gibson. They put forward pathway plans and had high hopes, it wasn't just join an Academy, they were serious about it with an offer tabled.
"It was a tough decision for him I'd say but league's definitely his passion. He was flattered but it was 'thanks, but not thanks'. He's played NRL at the age of 19 and he's the real deal, he's going to be a very good player."
Those that matter at Redfern say the same thing, with the likes of John Sutton and Sam Burgess picking him out as a future club captain.
Crichton, who himself excelled at the 15-man game before plumping for league, was considered in the same conversation before the Roosters lured him across Anzac Parade for 2019.
Murray looms as his natural successor in the Rabbitohs pack next year and will come off the bench in Friday's blockbuster semi-final against Melbourne.
To date he's played 22 games in Souths' premiership charge, starting to deliver on the promise that saw him pursued by the Waratahs and captain a NSW under 20s Origin team featuring Curtis Scott, Jesse Ramien and Victor Radley.
He is contracted until the end of 2019 but Souths are expected to move well before then to tie him up long-term, having last done so with a four-year deal when Murray was 17.
A sharp move considering his contemporaries Nat and Egan Butcher, Grant Garvey and Paul Momirovski were each lured from Redfern to Moore Park a few years ago, breaking a 'gentleman's agreement' that saw eastern suburbs juniors teams punted from the South Sydney run competition.
Murray was in the stands at ANZ Stadium when the Rabbitohs claimed their 2014 premiership. And it won't matter who comes knocking before he gets to lift the Provan-Summons trophy himself.
"I've never really considered anything else, I've always wanted to sign with Souths and see what I could do here," Murray said.
"There was rugby interest when I was Newington in my last year, I was playing both codes and enjoying it, I've always enjoyed union.
"But as much as I liked it, it was a no-brainer for me to come to Souths. It's a club I've supported since I was young and have played for in the juniors.
"It's something I've wanted to do - win a grand final with Souths. Even when those boys went to the Roosters, nothing ever came for me.
"I was more than happy at Souths and still am. I don't think I would've considered the Roosters then, or if I did in future."
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