Blues debutant Stephen Crichton revealed the touching moment he shared with his mother on his way to church after hearing of his NSW call and opening up on his new couch roll.
Crichton thanks his family and especially his parents for bringing him where he is, which made sharing the emotional moment with his mother all the more special.
“I got a call from Freddy on Saturday and I was in the car on my way to church,” Crichton told foxsports.com.au.
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“I had Mom in the car, so it was very special to share this moment with Mom.
“He just called me and congratulated me, you’ve been selected and Mom was listening in the car and she just started crying. It was really good to share that moment with mom.”
Still just 21, Crichton was in the NSW squad in 2020 as a 19-year-old, but he revealed how much it means to him to don the sky-blue jersey after being officially named in the 17.
“It means a lot to me, especially where I started and where my parents started with me and all the siblings,” Crichton said.
“Mom and Dad certainly had a hard time in the beginning when we were all little.
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“I’m just really grateful that I get the opportunity and can give back and also represent my parents by playing on the biggest stage.”
Eyebrows went up as Fittler chose to pick Jack Wighton in the center and Crichton on the bench, but the Panthers star revealed the role he will play and the positions he is ready to take in the No. 14 jersey.
“It’s not really that[utility role]because I played there for the Panthers for a while in my second year coming off the bench,” Crichton said.
“The coach just told me to be ready to go where I was needed.
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“I can cover anywhere in the back, but hopefully not in the front row.
“I trained on left center and right center, left and right.
“I have taken cover everywhere I am needed and have just learned from the boys how to play and their strengths with the ball.
“Even though I’m on the bench, I’m just trying to prepare the guys as best I can, so come on match day, they’re sweet and ready to go.”
Crichton is one of six Panthers in the 17, with Api Koroisau in the reserves, but he revealed the team will draw on the experience and talent of every club represented, not just Penrith.
“I think all players bring their own pieces from each club,” Crichton said.
“We all learned a lot and it was great meeting the guys.
“I think the professionalism of all the guys, especially the big dogs Teddy and everyone here is a big name.
“Just the zeal they have with extra stretching and recovering on days off was an eye opener.”
After scoring 36 tries in 65 games for the Panthers and playing two major finals, tasting premiership glory in 2021, Crichton is delighted to be playing with the best players in the game in the toughest arena.
“I’m looking forward to playing with all the guys, especially since it’s my first game,” Crichton said.
“If I can continue, the whole team will play a big part in making that day special for me.
“I give credit to the guys for trying to get the job done and hopefully we do.”
Crichton’s fondest Origin memory was watching his now skipper James Tedesco score the match and try to clinch the series in the final moments of the 2019 decider.
“Scoring Teddy to win the series is a huge memory for me,” Crichton said.
“Only the legends can do something like that and always be on the ball, so that’s definitely one to remember.”
Crichton is no stranger to the big moments after sealing Penrith’s premiership victory with an attempted interception, there’s no doubt that Crichton has the ability to match Tedesco’s heroism as he forges his own Origin legacy in the years to come.
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