Off-contract State of Origin hopeful Angus Crichton lifted the lid on his future plans after the Roosters’ win over the Sharks on Saturday.
State of Origin hopeful Angus Crichton says he wants to stay at the Roosters and that he and his manager are working towards something as they look to extend his deal beyond this season.
There were reports earlier in the year that the 26-year-old had signed an extension but the deal never got NRL approval because of salary cap concerns.
It’s seen Crichton linked to the Wests Tigers and even a mooted return to rugby union ahead of next year’s World Cup, but the hard-running edge forward says he hopes to stay at the club he joined in 2019 after a stint with rivals South Sydney.
“I clearly want to stay at the club. That’s my number one option and what I’m trying to push towards,” he said after the Roosters’ 36-16 win over Cronulla.
“It (the speculation) is frustrating, but you’ve just got to do your best to try to block it out and try to focus on the task at hand. It does get hard and you try to not buy into it, and I’m doing that the best I can. I clearly want to stay here and that’s what I’m working towards.
“We’re trying to work towards that (a new deal), myself and my agent, and hopefully we’ll have something sorted soon.”
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While Crichton’s long-term future remains unclear, there are no doubts over his current club form after a mixed start to the season that saw him come off the bench, play in the middle and both sides of the field.
He now looks settled on the left playing outside Sam Walker, with the pair quickly developing into one of the best edge combinations in the league.
“I’m just suited over there,” he said of his return to the left.
“Playing alongside Sammy, we’ve got a great friendship and a good relationship and I’m keen on building that moving forward. He feels like a little brother to me so I go out there and try to look after him and help him get through.
“He looks after me a lot of the time. He’s still navigating his way through first grade, but I think he’s doing a pretty good job for a 19-year-old playing in the five-eighth position. It’s not an easy task for him, but he’s standing up. His attack and ‘D’ are getting better, and he’s a good mate who I look for out there.”
His return to form has him primed to make the Blues team for the series opener, but Crichton didn’t want to spend much time talking about possibly adding to his nine NSW appearances.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said. “I haven’t spoken to Freddy.”
Robbo rates Fitzy as head coach
Roosters coach Trent Robinson didn’t want to get caught up in the pre-game narrative of taking on former assistant Craig Fitzgibbon.
But after his side’s 36-16 win in the Shire, the three-time premiership winner was full of praise for the rookie coach who has done a wonderful job with the Sharks in his first season at the helm.
The pair shared a special bond during their time together at the Roosters, winning several comps and establishing themselves as one of the top teams of the 21st century.
Fitzgibbon’s defensive expertise helped resurrect the famed Bondi Wall, and it was almost fitting that the structures he put in place came back to haunt him as the Roosters repelled everything the Sharks threw their way for the first 50 minutes.
“He’s such a great coach,” Robinson said after Saturday’s game in which the Roosters put in their best 80 minutes of the season.
“You see guys come in and try really hard to be a first-grade coach, but Fitzy has walked in and been himself and you can see the effect he’s had on this place already and the vibe around the joint.
“He’s one of the best guys you’ll meet, and he’s hard and he’s honest and you can see all of that in the way that his team is performing at the moment.
“It’s so good to see him performing well because he’s ready and guys love playing for him. It’s tough for him (tonight), but it’s great to see this team behind him and the way that they’re playing.”
Fitzgibbon said that he didn’t really think about the occasion given the Sharks were celebrating Ronaldo Mulitalo’s 50th NRL game and Andrew Fifita’s 200th for the club, while Indigenous Round also played a big part in their preparations.
“There was a bit going on during the week and it was a short turnaround (so I didn’t have time to think about it),” he said.
“It wasn’t a very pleasant experience, so next time we’ll prepare better and make sure it’s not as memorable for the wrong reasons. They’re a well-built club, a well-built team and a well-coached team and they played that way tonight.”
Originally published as Off-contract Rooster Angus Crichton opens up on future plans