Stephen Crichton reveals secret to his stunning success: ‘Mum brings home lots of Lite ‘n’ Easy packs’
Stephen Crichton reveals secret to his stunning success: ‘Mum brings home lots of Lite ‘n’ Easy packs’

Hungry for success: Panther flying high on frozen meals

Rugby league's newest sensation is fuelled by Lite 'n' Easy.

Which has to become a TV commercial, surely.

Or at the very least, a third-party sponsor.

Something, right?

"Well, there's still the occasional cheat meal," Penrith young gun Stephen Crichton laughs. "I can't eat vegies every day of the week.

"But if you're asking what I eat most days, yeah, it's those frozen Lite 'n' Easy packs".

Mum Sina is responsible for that most obscure of NRL nutrition plans.

"My mum, she works at the Lite 'n' Easy factory," Crichton explains. "Works packing the freezers and stuff like that.

 

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Crichton enjoys himself on the training paddock this week.
Crichton enjoys himself on the training paddock this week.

 

"So every week, she always brings home food for us."

Still only 19, Crichton has catapulted into contention for the crown of rugby league's greatest young athlete.

Apart from moving faster than bad news, or being able to windmill dunk a basketball, Crichton was also captured at Panthers training this week getting higher than Cheech Marin when taking AFL-style marks.

Which is why, two years ago, Crichton was offered a trial with GWS Giants.

Same as in his final year with Patrician Brothers Blacktown, the towering Year 12 student was urged to attend Australian Schoolboys basketball trials.

 

Stephen Crichton positions himself for the incoming ball.
Stephen Crichton positions himself for the incoming ball.

 

"But they were same day as Australian Schoolboys rugby league trials," Crichton shrugs.

So he went with footy which meant he finished that 2018 season touring England with Bradman Best, Bronson Xerri and Tom Dearden.

"So in high school, I had a few options if Plan A didn't work, especially basketball," Crichton said. "I was tall, could shoot and my high school coach was begging me to stick with it."

In fact, during his first season with the Panthers Jersey Flegg side, Crichton would occasionally miss training to play basketball games for Metropolitan Catholic Schools.

It's why Penrith fans, and every other league lover from Peter V'landys down, should be thanking his old man Va'a, a Rooty Hill bus driver.

 

A talented baskballer during his school days, Crichton lays down a big windmill dunk.
A talented baskballer during his school days, Crichton lays down a big windmill dunk.

 

"Dad wanted me to stay with footy," the 193cm flyer says. "So that's what I did."

The young Samoan is battling with Knights centre Best and Wests Tigers hooker Harry Grant for Dally M Rookie of the Year honours.

In a further boost for Panthers fans, Crichton is firming to sign a three-year extension with the club, telling the Daily Telegraph he could never picture himself in a rival NRL jersey.

Despite being signed to Penrith until the end of 2021, Crichton can still explore his options from November 1, with up to six clubs reportedly interested in his services.

"But having grown up out here, Penrith is where I want to stay," he says.

"I feel like this is home. I can't see myself in any other jersey, especially coming through with so many mates from out here."

Crichton said he would find it difficult to move on from coach Ivan Cleary, who "I can talk to about anything".

 

Clinical Panthers pump Eels: NRL: The Penrith Panthers were at their absolute best on Friday night, dominating the Parramatta Eels at Panthers Stadium.

 

 

 

Originally published as Hungry for success: Panther flying high on frozen meals

The star youngster makes easy work of taking the ball.
The star youngster makes easy work of taking the ball.