Angus Crichton looks set to leave the Roosters a year early to deliver a much-needed boost in talent to the Wallabies after Rugby Australia offered the veteran forward a lucrative two-year deal.
According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, the former schoolboys rugby star has been offered a $1.6 million deal for the next two years.
He would join the Western Force, not the Waratahs, in Super Rugby and be in contention to become a dual international with the Wallabies in the lead-up to the 2025 British & Irish Lions tour.
It had been expected that Crichton would stay in Sydney if he switched codes but the SMH reported that the Westerners have joined forces with RA to come up with the cash for the deal.
The 27-year-old second-rower has played 154 NRL matches at Souths and the Roosters since making his debut in 2016, as well as 11 Origins with NSW and five Tests for the Kangaroos, including last year’s World Cup final in the UK.
Crichton has a year remaining on his current deal and is free to speak to other NRL clubs as of November 1, though if he did choose to join rugby union, it is likely the Roosters would not stand in his way and he would join immediately.
He took significant time out of the game for mental health reasons earlier this year and his club is happy to let him lead the way on his decision making, though they would baulk at him joining another NRL club, especially a year early.
Crichton won an NRL premiership in 2019 when he was a part of the Roosters side which beat Canberra in controversial circumstances.
The Wallabies are desperate to rebuild their team and their reputation after crashing out of the Rugby World Cup for the first time prior to the quarter-finals in France after defeats to Fiji and Wales.
Crichton was a standout performer at Scots College as a teenager before he was signed by Souths.
Signing him to a big-money deal is a gamble by Rugby Australia and will lead to criticism about chasing NRL talent instead of investing in the code’s own players.
For the Roosters, they are under salary cap pressure heading into next season as they try to re-sign young forwards Siua Wong and Terrell May while, at this stage, Joseph Suaalii, will remain at the Roosters next season before he takes up his multimillion-dollar contract with Rugby Australia which runs until the World Cup on home soil in 2027.