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Crichton All-In for Canterbury and Coach Ciraldo

New Bulldogs Captain Stephen Crichton arrived at Belmore weeks earlier than expected to start training, then moved into the area in a true showing of commitment to the Blue and White.

He brought with him a large boombox that can be heard from miles away – just ask his teammates when they turn up to training ready to start their day – and is living on his own for the first time.

But it’s all with good intentions for Crichton, who will lead the Bulldogs as Captain in 2024 in just his first season at the Club.

“I want to be all in at the Bulldogs and help lead them,” Crichton said.

“I sat down with my parents after I signed and decided I had to leave the Penrith area. I live up the road now so I’m five minutes from training and I’ve never been that close to training.

“I thought if I wanted to be serious about this move and lead the boys then I didn’t want to have any excuses that I needed to leave early.

“Some of the boys at Penrith drive from Cronulla and I noticed they’d be in a rush to avoid traffic each day and I didn’t want to do that.

“Now that I live around the corner there’s no rush for me to go anywhere, I can stay back and do video and take my recovery seriously.

“Everything comes out in a game, whether I’m switched on or off and all that comes from whether I am tuned in during the pre-season with my actions.

“It’s important to me to give everything I’ve got into making this move successful.”

Crichton’s decision to move to the local area came with some sacrifice including moving away from his fiancé Leone, who he proposed to in the off-season.

More nervous about asking her parents for permission to propose to their daughter than getting down on one knee, Crichton said his future wife’s support towards his move was unwavering.

“We’re not allowed to live with each other until we get married so it was part of the discussion with her that I had to move,” he said.

“She understands and supports me, and I’m always visiting her and my family. It’s my first time out of home and it’s made me grow up a bit. I’m excited for that growth.”

Bulldogs Head Coach Cameron Ciraldo did not hesitate in announcing Crichton as the Club’s Captain after consulting with 2023 on-field Co-Captains Reed Mahoney and Matt Burton, who agreed Crichton delivered a significant impact in the off-season.

The pair’s [Ciraldo and Crichton's] special bond dates back to Crichton’s first season in the NRL in 2019.

“I wouldn’t be the player I am without what he’s taught me,” Crichton said.

“I missed him last year, as much as obviously we still did really well at Penrith. My brother Christian [Crichton] was singing his praises and it wasn’t until I made the NRL that I had a taste of his coaching."

“I’ve told Ciro I just want to be fit enough to be ready to go for him. I’m training everywhere. Whether it’s fullback or centre I just want to do well for the Club.”

Crichton has been named in the centres for this evening's NRL Pre-Season Challenge Round 2 against the Sharks and will lead the side out for his first-ever match as a Bulldog.

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Acknowledgement of Country

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs respect and honour the Darug and Eora nations, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.