Gutted Seibold’s Crichton surprise, 2018 verdict
RUGBY LEAGUE: New Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold has admitted he was surprised Angus Crichton decided to turn his back on a "really competitive" offer to stay at Souths, opting for a move to arch rivals the Roosters in 2019.
But Seibold will put his disappointment aside to make sure he gets the best out of the gun second-rower in his last season at Redfern.
Souths on Monday announced that Crichton would be leaving the club that turned him into one of the competition's most sought after players as the Roosters' incredible year of recruitment continued.
The early call on his future ensures the 21-year-old will play a full season for his current club before making the move to Bondi in a twist of the current transfer system that infuriates fans.
However, Seibold ruled out the prospect of an early release, or a punitive spell on the sidelines, saying the Rabbitohs were committed to getting one more good season out of Crichton before he leaves.
"He's got one more season to go and I know he's very committed about staying here for 2018 and we expect to see a really positive season from Gus before he departs," Seibold said.
"Gussy's here for 2018. We're committed to him as a club, he's committed to us as a player."
Crichton made the first step in attempting to leave the Rabbitohs on good terms by driving to the NSW mid-north coastal town of Coffs Harbour to personally inform owner Russell Crowe of his decision before it was made public.
It was a classy gesture that is unlikely to heal wounded Rabbitohs fans, particularly upon hearing that Souths had gone hard to keep Crichton, with a big three-year offer tabled in an effort to ward off the interest of the Roosters and Cronulla.
"He had three years here where he progressed to be a good first grade player last year, so we made a really competitive three-year offer to Gussy and he's chosen to depart the club," Seibold revealed.
"I was really confident, myself. Like I keep saying we made a very good offer for Gussy, we wanted to keep him.
"I think he's a very good player, he's obviously showed tremendous potential and we were hoping to see the fruits of that I suppose.
"Madge has done a great job with Gussy over his first couple of years here."