Chooks axe Crichton, Souths blood 28yo rookie in Vegas

George Clarke |

Angus Crichton has been dropped from the Sydney Roosters line-up to take on Brisbane in Las Vegas.
Angus Crichton has been dropped from the Sydney Roosters line-up to take on Brisbane in Las Vegas.

Angus Crichton’s future at the Sydney Roosters is increasingly clouded after the Test forward was left out of Trent Robinson’s side for their round-one clash with Brisbane in Las Vegas. 

Crichton, who is off contract at the end of 2024, was named in the Roosters’ extended squad on Tuesday and will only see game time if an injury strikes before their season opener in Sin City on March 3. 

Siua Wong and Sitili Tupouniua have taken the starting backrow spots while Nat Butcher fills out a bench which boasts Terrell May, Sandon Smith and Naufahu Whyte.

The demotion down the pecking order continues a turbulent 18-month period for Crichton, who was part of the Kangaroos’ World Cup-winning squad at the end of 2022.

Since then, the forward has spent time away from the game seeking treatment for his mental health.

And late last year Crichton was subject to a drawn-out and failed bid by Rugby Australia to lure him back to the 15-man game. 

While dropping Crichton, Robinson also opted to hand off-season recruit Spencer Leniu a starting berth after his move from Penrith.

Rugby union-bound Joseph Suaalii will line up on the wing after Dominic Young’s injury offered him a route back into Robinson’s best 17. 

The Broncos, meanwhile, will deploy Selwyn Cobbo at centre as they seek to find a long-term replacement for Herbie Farnworth.

Kiwi youngster Deine Mariner has beaten veteran Corey Oates to fill Cobbo’s wing spot, while prop Corey Jensen starts up front alongside Payne Haas following Tom Flegler’s move to the Dolphins. 

Souths meet Manly in the earlier game on Sunday (AEDT), with the Sea Eagles naming Luke Brooks to make his debut at five-eighth. 

Fullback Tom Trbojevic has been picked for his first game since round 15 last year, while brother Ben starts at second-row after an impressive off-season.

Reuben Garrick also shifts to the centres with ex-Souths flyer Jaxson Paulo coming onto the wing.

Souths are forced into a reshuffle in the backline with injuries ruling Campbell Graham and Tyrone Munro out of the game, while new recruit Jack Wighton is suspended. 

Richie Kennar and Isaiah Tass fill the centre berths while Jacob Gagai, the brother of Dane, will make his NRL debut aged 28 on the wing.

Latrell Mitchell is selected at fullback after a turbulent 2023 season as former Manly prop Sean Keppie prepares to start in his debut against his old club.

The only injury concern for the Rabbitohs centres around Cody Walker, who has been troubled by a calf complaint in recent weeks.