Angus Crichton could return 'sooner than expected' in huge boost for Roosters

The promising news comes after initial fears the Roosters star may not return to the NRL in 2023.

Pictured here, Angus Crichton looks on before a Roosters game in the NRL.
Angus Crichton could reportedly return to the NRL sooner than expected after taking an indefinite break in the wake of a bipolar disorder diagnosis. Pic: Getty

The Sydney Roosters have received a welcome update on sidelined star, Angus Crichton, with reports the representative forward could return to the NRL "sooner than expected". Last month, it emerged that the Kangaroos World Cup winner would be taking an indefinite break from the game after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Crichton's diagnosis was first revealed by his father Charlie. In a statement, the 27-year-old's father revealed that the Roosters and Kangaroos back-rower had been grappling with his mental health for some time.

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"Angus is under appropriate professional support and treatment for medically diagnosed bipolar disorder which he has been dealing with for some time," Charlie Crichton said. "He is fully supported by his family, his management and the Sydney Roosters club as he works towards recovery.

"While no timeline has been set for his return to rugby league, we will continue to trust his medical team and know those within the rugby league community will respect his right to privacy."

There had been fears in the league world that Crichton could miss the entire season as he prioritises his mental wellbeing. However, Sydney Morning Herald league reporter Michael Chammas said on Channel Nine's NRL coverage over the weekend that the classy forward could return for the Tri Colours in the coming weeks.

"Things are looking good," Chammas told Nine. "Angus and his manager met with (Roosters chairman) Nick Politis last week and I spoke to the Roosters today and in the next 24 to 48 hours, Angus Crichton will sit down with Sydney Roosters' coach Trent Robinson to map out a plan about him returning to that Roosters set-up."

It's expected that Crichton will train on his own when he does return, in order to sharpen his match fitness and gradually ease his way back into the fold at the Roosters. "We all thought that perhaps we wouldn't see Angus Crichton return to rugby league in 2023 but the signs are looking good," Chammas added. "Potentially, we may see him return sooner than expected."

Roosters sought salary cap relief after Angus Crichton diagnosis

The Roosters raised eyebrows across the code after appealing to the NRL for financial dispensation to have some of Crichton's $750,000 salary written off. NRL CEO Andrew Abdo has already stated that injuries have not been enough for dispensation in the past, with the Roosters having unsuccessfully made a similar bid prior to the retirement of Boyd Cordner.

Crichton's teammates and the rugby league community have rallied around the star after details of his diagnosis were made public. Tri Colours prop Lindsay Collins praised Crichton for having the courage to step away from the game and seek the help that he needs.

"He's just stepped away and recognised that he needs to get help," said prop Lindsay Collins. "He's getting the help that he needs and when he's right, he'll be back."

Seen here, Roosters star Angus Crichton runs the ball during the NRL Elimination Final against the Rabbitohs in 2022.
Roosters star Angus Crichton runs the ball during the NRL Elimination Final against the Rabbitohs in 2022. Pic: Getty

The Roosters' request to be granted salary cap relief around Crichton sparked plenty of debate around the NRL world. League boss Abdo indicated there was an openness to accomodate the Roosters given the unique circumstances around the issue, but declared it was ultimately down to the salary cap auditor to make a final decision.

“It’s an injury like any other injury and, in the past, we haven’t given salary-cap relief,” Abdo said. “But, if there’s an appropriate approach to it, and it’s discharged in terms of a suitable specialist, it can be looked at.

“As far as season-ending or career-ending issues, each of those are looked at on their merits. If it’s material, in terms of length, there’s an opportunity to look at it. But it gets carefully assessed.

“The salary-cap auditor is empowered to look at certain situations within certain parameters. With appropriate, independent advice, it will be looked at.”

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