World Cup winner returns to action following Bipolar diagnosis alongside ex-Catalans prop

James Gordon
Angus Crichton

Photo: Craig Thomas/News Images

Australia international Angus Crichton played his first match since the World Cup final at the weekend as he turned out for Sydney Roosters’ NSW Cup side.

Crichton, 27, has sat out the start of the new NRL season after he was granted indefinite personal level having been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.

He played the full 80 minutes against Newtown Jets at Henson Park on Saturday, with the Jets running out 40-18 winners.

That has raised hopes that an NRL return isn’t far away, with some speculation he could be considered for the Roosters’ ANZAC clash with St George-Illawarra Dragons.

Photo credit: Mario Facchini, mafphotography

Crichton’s father said at the time of his diagnosis: “I can confirm that Angus is under appropriate professional support and treatment for medically diagnosed bipolar disorder which he has been dealing with for sometime, He is full 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 with the Rugby League community will respect his right to privacy during this time.”

Crichton, who has played more than 140 games in the NRL for South Sydney and the Roosters, played five times for Australia at the World Cup. He was sinbinned in the 30-10 win over Samoa in the final after knocking out Chanel Harris-Tavita with a raised forearm.

His representative honours include 11 games of State of Origin for New South Wales, and he was part of the Roosters squad that won the NRL in 2019.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson said ahead of the weekend: “He has been really good at training so it’s time to start playing. He missed a lot of that pre-season period and you can’t replicate that during the season so we need to ramp it up through reserve grade.”

Photo credit: Mario Facchini, mafphotography

Napa trying to play his way back to the NRL

Playing alongside Crichton at the weekend was former Catalans forward Dylan Napa.

Napa, 30, was released from the final year of his contract with the Dragons following an indifferent 2022, where he was sent off on his debut against St Helens and was handed a four-match ban.

The former Canterbury Bulldogs prop was handed a lifeline by the Roosters earlier this year, and this was his first hit out for their NSW Cup side, the NRL’s reserve grade. As he is outside the top 30 players in the Roosters squad, Napa is ineligible to play in the NRL until at least Round 11.

The Cook Islands international previously played State of Origin for Queensland.

Italy World Cup captain Nathan Brown also featured in the Roosters pack, as he looks to force his way in to the NRL reckoning.

But their experience couldn’t beat the young Jets forwards, with Lebanon international back-rower Charbel Tasipale scoring two first half tries as the hosts led 28-0 at the break.

Newtown coach George Ndaira, himself a former Lebanon international, rated the first 40 minutes as their best half of the season so far.

Thomas Deakin (2) and Elie El-Zakham grabbed second half tries for the Roosters as they came back in to the match, but they were still well beaten.

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