Barnstorming backrower Angus Crichton has lauded the growth and work ethic of teammate Sam Walker in his second year of first grade, and is excited to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the 2002 Premiership triumph.
Following the side's heart-stopping win against the Brisbane Broncos last Friday, Crichton, while happy with the two competition points, insisted that there was more work to be done.
Crichton : "We're Discovering Who We Are as a Team"
After a 3-2 start to the season, the 26-year-old believes that the victory has laid the foundations for the side to continue their trajectory in search of success.
“I think we’re still finding our feet and discovering who we are as a team,” he said.
“I think it’s exciting. It’s definitely a period where a lot of us are growing into the players we want to be. So as a team, we’ve just got to keep working every week towards our goal.
“We needed to win that game, simple as that. The start to the season hasn’t been the way we wanted, but at least we’re sitting here three and two.
Walker Gets Roosters Crowing
“It would be a different story if we were losing games like that. I think it’s a positive sign with how we won. We’re obviously not happy with how we won it.
“I don’t want us to get too ahead of ourselves as a team. It was a crucial win and it felt good getting that win but our team cares about winning football games and it mattered to us there.
“We have a lot to work on and it’s not going to cut it against the top-quality teams and we know that.”
One of the heroes of the night was 19-year-old five-eighth Sam Walker, who scored the side's first try and kicked a sideline conversion to give his side the lead before putting the nail in the coffin with a deft grubber for Sitili Tupouniua.
Crichton - who formed a solid combination with the young half throughout season 2021 - was in awe of his teammate's mature approach, both in his on-field temperament and his off-field preparations.
“I love the kid, I think he’s the best,” he laughed.
“I love playing alongside him, and seeing him step up in that moment there I was so happy for him. He deserves it.
“He is just a little Rugby League nerd, but he’s a really relaxed guy. He’s got a super-calm temperament when he plays as you can see that Robbo has made a point of trying to help him excel his game as quickly as he can.
“Obviously he’s been thrust into first-grade as an eighteen-year-old and we all know how hard that can be for a young dude.
“The way that he goes about his game, just seeing his knowledge of the game grow, his understanding of the game plan; obviously he’s put in the hours there with coach.
We’re wearing a new jersey with a collar and I love playing in different jerseys and that kind of stuff so I’m excited to pull that on and represent those boys.Angus Crichton On celebrating the 2002 Premiership this Sunday
“The biggest thing I think is seeing him after every session not only practising his goalkicking - which I guess showed in that last kick - but the most impressive thing for me is after every single training session he’s practising his tackling.
"Every session he’s got a new guy running at him, a new body shape. He knows a lot of traffic is going to be coming at him so he’s just preparing and he works hard.
“It just speaks volumes of his character. He’s a really quality young man, a really good person to have around the team and he’s a quality footballer."
Hutchison : "We Have to Find Out What Works For Us"
A self-confessed Roosters fan throughout his childhood, it's no surprise to see Crichton's eyes light up when mentioning the 2002 Premiership.
While his halfback might have been just a few months old when Brad Fittlers' Roosters broke a 27-year Premiership drought, a young Crichton was draped in Red, White and Blue and cheering at the top of his lungs.
Now he gets the opportunity to represent his heroes in their famous all-white kit on Sunday afternoon in what is set to be an unforgettable afternoon at the SCG.
“It’s massive,” he said.
“Twenty years on, it’s exciting to be able to pay homage to those guys.
“I love that history side of the Club. I think it’s something to be celebrated and hopefully some of the old boys will come out to the game.
2002 Grand Final Highlights: Roosters vs Warriors
“We’re wearing a new jersey with a collar and I love playing in different jerseys and that kind of stuff so I’m excited to pull that on and represent those boys."
The wide-running backrower also paid tribute to the NRLW side's emphatic Grand Final win last Sunday, expressing his pride in the side claiming their inaugural title.
“For our girls team, the way they started the year to get back into the Grand Final and then to be losing and come back and win is a big moment for them.
“It’s a big moment for our Club and I’m super proud of all of the girls.”