Yong NRL star Angus Crichton to depart Rabbitohs for Roosters

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Another chapter is set to be added to the Book of Feuds with gun back-rower Angus Crichton to depart South Sydney for near rivals the Sydney Roosters.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 18:  Angus Crichton of the Rabbitohs is tackled during the round 24 NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New Zealand Warriors at ANZ Stadium on August 18, 2017 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Angus Crichton of the Rabbitohs is tackled during the round 24 NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New Zealand Warriors at ANZ Stadium

Source: Getty

Crichton, one of the most heavily sought-after young talents in the competition, is expected to sign a three-year NRL deal with the Roosters from 2019 onwards worth a reported $1 million a year.

The deal has not been announced and Crichton's management said it could not comment on negotiations.

However the Rabbitohs on Tuesday spoiled their near neighbours' announcement by issuing a statement revealing Crichton had signed with a rival team.

He will now play out the 2018 season with the Rabbitohs despite being committed to the Roosters for 2019.

"Angus Crichton has informed the South Sydney Rabbitohs that 2018 will be his final season with the club, having committed to a contract with another NRL club for 2019 and beyond," the club's statement said.

"The Rabbitohs made a very strong three-year offer to Crichton for his services beyond 2018 however he has chosen to take up a more lucrative offer elsewhere.

"Crichton will be remaining with the Rabbitohs for the 2018 season."

Earlier this month Crichton, 21, revealed that he had been tabled offers from the Rabbitohs, Roosters and Cronulla while the Australian Rugby Union had also expressed interest in the former Australian Schoolboys XV representative.

After debuting in 2016, Crichton emerged as one of the best young talents in 2017 and was spoken about by now NSW coach Brad Fittler as a future State of Origin representative.

He finished 2017 with the second most tackle busts by a forward with 96, only behind North Queensland superstar Jason Taumalolo.

Despite signing Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco for 2018 onwards, the Roosters have seemingly found money in their salary cap for yet another big name star.

Crichton's defection will only heighten tensions between the two foundation clubs and sets up a blockbuster local derby at Allianz Stadium in round six.

For years, the near neighbours have had a frosty relationship after Souths accused the Roosters of stealing their local juniors and stars including Michael Cleary, Ron Coote, Craig Wing and Bryan Fletcher.

In 2008, Souths co-owner Russell Crowe commissioned a book titled "The Book of Feuds" which detailed the club's rivalries with other NRL teams.

In the chapter devoted to the Roosters, author Mark Courtney claimed "somewhere along the way the Roosters lost their soul. They simply don't have the tradition, the stories or the romance that is South Sydney."

Crichton's signing with the Roosters over a year out from the 2019 season will also bring into focus the NRL's contract rules.

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