The rising stars at South Sydney are a tight-knit group, with four next-generation guns from Redfern spending the day under the watchful eye of Brad Fittler at Emerging Origin camp.
Day by day they train together in the gruelling grind of pre-season, but today was slightly different for Angus Crichton, Cameron Murray, Tyrell Fuimaono and Campbell Graham.
Touted as four players with the potential to play State of Origin in the future, the relationship between the four players goes beyond South Sydney, with all of them playing some role in the NSW Pathways Programs in years gone by.
“We’ve got a really good, strong group of young guys at Souths,” Crichton said to NSWRL.com.au.
“Cam Murray is an absolute weapon, Tyrell [Fuimaono] is a beast as well, and Campbell Graham is only going to get better.
“They are all really good fellas as well, we all get on really well, we went for brekkie this morning."
Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler picked just under 40 young players to participate in the Emerging Origin camp earlier today.
The squad included players who have played NRL such as Crichton and Nathan Cleary, but also included others in the NSWRL Pathways Program including Kyle Schneider, Luke Metcalf and Kyle Flanagan.
Fittler couldn’t pinpoint a standout in the super talented group but did credit the Rabbitohs system for producing a group of impressive players, including the will and mindset of Crichton.
“The boys that we’ve seen come through the pathways that are I just know once they get the chance they won’t go backwards and I think we’ve seen that with a few of the Souths blokes,” Fittler said.
“Cam Murray, Campbell Graham, these are blokes that have come through good systems and obviously learned enough to once they get there they’re not leaving.
“[Crichton] sacrificed a finger, anyone that does that for the game of Rugby League is going to do good things, he’s super impressive.”
Since becoming NSW coach, Fittler has constantly highlighted that players who don’t put in for their club are not Origin players.
Crichton’s attitude reflects this, and he vows not to be distracted by the sky-blue jersey that he dreams of one day securing.
“Every NRL player wants to play Origin, it’s a tough one because you don’t really want to make that your [major] goal,” Crichton said.
“I just want to focus on my year this year and try and play the best footy I can because I think if you focus on trying to make those rep sides you can kind of get a bit distracted.”
“I’m not expecting much, I just want to try and keep improving on my game from last year, I’m just going to try and be at my best at club [level] and hopefully that reflects to the selectors.”