Angus Crichton returns to Sydney Roosters in huge boost for NRL heavyweights
The representative forward took an indefinite break from the NRL after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Representative forward Angus Crichton has taken his first major steps towards an NRL comeback after taking an indefinite break from the game to deal with his mental health. Crichton was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder and it was revealed last month that he was taking a break from the NRL to get the help needed to battle the condition.
Crichton's diagnosis was first revealed by his father Charlie, who explained that the NSW Origin and Kangaroos forward had been grappling with his mental health for some time. "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 at the time.
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"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."
No timeline was put on Crichton's likely return, with many league fans fearing he might not play again in 2023. However, Sydney Morning Herald league reporter Michael Chammas reported earlier this month that Crichton could return "sooner than expected" and on Monday, he was spotted with teammates at Roosters training.
It's a significant step for the 27-year-old, who will need to work his way back to full fitness, before being considered by coach Trent Robinson. It's understood Crichton has spent several in a mental health facility and has been prescribed with medication to help him deal with his condition.
Roosters officials have reportedly sat down with Crichton to discuss the most effective way to reintegrate him into the playing squad, and the NRL. The club will be hoping the classy back-rower can return to competitive footy sometime in the next few weeks.
Crichton's return will provide a massive boost to the Tri Colours, who have started the season with two wins and a loss, after enjoying the bye in round four. 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.
Roosters wanted salary cap relief for Angus Crichton
The Roosters ruffled a few feathers in the rugby league world after appealing to the NRL for financial dispensation to have some of Crichton's $750,000 salary written off, following his diagnosis. 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 bipolar disorder 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."
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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