NRL Market Watch: Stephen Crichton tells teammates he is leaving Penrith Panthers

Premiership star Stephen Crichton is set to leave Penrith at the end of the season – although he is keen to stay with his kids’ club. We reveal the reasons for his exit.

Penrith superstar Stephen Crichton is set to leave the club at the end of the season after breaking the news to his team-mates on Monday.

The Daily Telegraph has learned that Crichton told his Panthers teammates at practice about his plans to continue at the end of the season. It’s unclear where the NSW and Samoa representative will play next year but Canterbury are in the box seat to land the 22-year-old.

Crichton will play with the Panthers this season before leaving the club. The two parties were locked in talks but could not agree on terms.

That will pave the way for Crichton to reunite with former Panthers assistant coach Cameron Ciraldo in Canterbury with the prospect of moving from center to full-back.

The Panthers released a statement Monday afternoon confirming that Crichton would “look elsewhere for opportunities in 2024.”

“While Panthers are disappointed with the result, the club respect Stephen’s decision and understand that the pressure on salary caps resulting from the club’s recent success is exacerbating the situation,” said Matt Cameron, CEO of Panthers Rugby League.

“The club thanks Stephen for his efforts and looks forward to seeing him for the Panthers for the remainder of the 2023 NRL season.”

Crichton said he was determined to end the year strong with the Panthers.

“It was the hardest decision, but now I’m totally focused on the 2023 season and ending my time with the Panthers as strong as I can,” Crichton said.

“It will be difficult to leave my teammates but we will have our chance this year to make more memories. I know my friendships at Panthers don’t end here, they will last forever.”

Crichton has been a revelation since his NRL debut in 2019. He was part of Penrith’s two Premiership victories and played a key role in both results.

Crichton made his NSW and Samoa debut this year and was part of the Samoa World Cup side that lost to Australia in the final.

The Panthers have prioritized teammates Brian To’o, Liam Martin, Izack Tago and Taylan May in recent months.

The Crichton revelation comes just days after Penrith made a move to secure her future by re-signing four of his most promising juniors.

Friday’s two-time firsts revealed contract extensions for playmaker Jack Cole, full-back Isaiah Iongi, winger Jesse McLean and second-rower Harrison Hassett.

All four re-signed through the end of the 2025 season.

Queensland junior sensation Iongi is seen as a long-term replacement for Clive Churchill’s medalist Dylan Edwards’ full-back.

Originally published as NRL Market Watch: Stephen Crichton tells his teammates he is leaving the Penrith Panthers NRL Market Watch: Stephen Crichton tells teammates he is leaving Penrith Panthers

Ryan Sederquist

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