‘I’m ready for Freddy’: Crichton back in the Origin frame after return

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Angus Crichton, having come through his first proper hitout since the Rugby League World Cup last November unscathed, reckons his best football is about four weeks away.

“Maybe about a month,” Crichton said following the Roosters’ thrilling 27-26 win over St George Illawarra.

“I’ll be continually working on my cardio and strength, so probably a month I think. I don’t want to rush it, I don’t want to push myself and put crazy expectations on myself.

“I’ll keep chipping away at it every week.”

That timeframe puts him right into the conversation for State of Origin selection. Crichton has already made 11 appearances for NSW and while his main focus is on the Roosters, the 27-year-old believes he will be ready should Brad Fittler come calling.

“100 per cent. I’ve been there a number of times and know what is expected,” Crichton said.

Angus Crichton is back in action for the Roosters.Credit: Getty

“I will do whatever I need to do if I get picked.”

Crichton’s return was just one storyline in a helter-skelter Anzac Day clash memorable for Luke Keary’s match-winning field goal, a pitch invader making contact with Zac Lomax and another Victor Radley sin-binning.

Radley protested that the latter was a “shit decision” from officials, claiming his collision with Michael Molo was a head clash. However, the match review committee saw it differently and charged him with a grade-one careless high tackle offence. Given it was his third offence, he will cop a $3000 fine, although he has the option of contesting it and risking a two-match ban.

Amid all the drama, Crichton’s much-anticipated comeback was somewhat lost. However, his return to the field after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder was one of the best rugby league stories of the season. The NSW and Australian back-rower struggled to involve himself, particularly early in the contest, but will be better for the run.

Crichton insists his focus is squarely on the Roosters.Credit: Getty

“I was nervous,” Crichton said. “I know I need to do a bit of work to get back to where I want to get to.

“It’s a good first hitout with the boys and I can build on that now.

“I’ve played in a couple of Anzac games, so I know what to expect in big games here and there.

“I wasn’t as involved as I would have liked to have been. It was a bit of a hard one for me to get into. To get through that unscathed and go into next week, I just want to keep on building on it.

“Obviously I have missed a fair bit of footy, so I’ll keep building it back up brick by brick.

“I’ll keep working to get as fit as I can.”

Fittler has been in regular contact with Crichton throughout his sabbatical, although the immediate focus is on a successful club return.

“I’m not even thinking about Origin at the minute,” Crichton said.

“There are some really good players putting their hand up at the minute who are in peak condition.

“If he wants me to go into camp, I’ll go in there, for sure. But I think my focus right now is just getting my fitness right so I can play the best footy I can for the Roosters. We have got big expectations on ourselves as a club and what we can do here.”

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