Angus Crichton's future at Roosters under cloud after shock move for NRL opener

The Roosters forward has been linked with a move to rugby union at the end of the season.

Pictured Angus Crichton
Angus Crichton's future at the Roosters has been plunged into further doubt after the forward was left out of Trent Robinson's round one side. Image: Getty

Angus Crichton's future at the Sydney Roosters is growing more uncertain by the day after the forward was left out of the Tri Colours side for their round-one clash with the Broncos in Las Vegas. Crichton, who is off contract at the end of 2024, was named on the extended bench for the Roosters season opener on March 3 and will only make the 17 if injury strikes.

Roosters duo Siua Wong and Sitili Tupouniua have been named to start in the back row, while Nat Butcher, Terrell May, Sandon Smith and Naufahu Whyte secured the four bench spots. It is the latest blow in what has been a difficult 18 months for Crichton, who at the backend of 2022 was part of the Kangaroos' World Cup-winning squad.

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Crichton's omission from the 17 comes as rumours swirl that the forward will soon join teammates Joseph Suaalii and Joseph Manu in making the switch to rugby union in 2025. The Daily Telegraph reports Crichton will follow Manu to French rugby when his Roosters deal comes to an end in November. The Roosters backrower was a schoolboy rugby union star but moved to the NRL to sign with the Rabbitohs before landing at the Tri Colours.

Australia's Reuben Cotter, Josh Addo-Carr and Angus Crichton celebrate following the Rugby League World Cup final at Old Trafford, Manchester. Picture date: Saturday November 19, 2022. (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)
Angus Crichton being left out of the Roosters 17 is the latest blow in a difficult 18 months for a player who at the backend of 2022 was part of the Kangaroos' World Cup-winning squad. Image: Getty (David Davies - PA Images via Getty Images)

Last year Rugby Australia approached Crichton in an attempt to lure him to the 15-man code, reportedly offering him $1.6 million over two years to join rugby union franchise The Western Force. But Rugby Australia later withdrew the offer amid the turmoil from the Wallabies' World Cup exit which led to Crichton's manager David Rawlings taking a swipe at Rugby Australia over the back-and-forth.

"On at least three different occasions, I’ve questioned whether their intent to sign Angus was genuine because we had concerns around the disconnect between the communication we were receiving from the chairman, chief executive and head of contracting. They were all on different pages," Rawlings told The Sydney Morning Herald.

"We had contracting deadlines missed on multiple occasions, which is just bad business. This wasn’t a money grab. He was keen to go. He thought he could help. I feel for the Western Force. They would have got themselves a potential world-class No.12. The pathway that they laid out for Angus was very appealing. It seems to me the balance between the privacy of the negotiation and the public announcement was blurred."

Angus Crichton's future in the NRL uncertain

The 28-year-old played just 13 games last year, the least of his career since debuting for South Sydney in 2016. He took an extended break away from the game to attend to his mental health, with his father revealing that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Crichton's contract with the Roosters runs out at the end of the year and there has been no NRL team as yet to declare their interest in his services. A move to French or Japanese rugby is the most likely option at the end of the year but in the meantime, Crichton says he is committed to remaining at the Tri Colours until at least the end of the year.

"To be honest, I always wanted to stay and finish my contract here with the Roosters," Crichton told SMH. "Rugby is always something that’s there for me, I haven’t played it for a long time but growing up with it, it’s a sport I really enjoy.

"It's something I'm still open to and some of my best mates – (former Wallaby) Jack Maddocks and (Scottish vice-captain) Sione Tuipulotu – are playing at a really high level in Europe. I'm 28, it’s something that could still be there. But right now I’m at the Roosters and I want to be the most dominant player I can be in this competition."

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