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Rugby Australia offer NRL star big-money deal – report

By Finn Morton
Angus Crichton of Australia celebrates following the Rugby League World Cup Semi-Final match between Australia and New Zealand at Elland Road on November 11, 2022 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

In the aftermath of the Wallabies’ record loss to Wales at the World Cup, it’s been reported that NRL star Angus Crichton has been offered a big-money deal by Rugby Australia.

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According to The Daily Telegraph, the Sydney Roosters enforcer could potentially ink a deal that would send him to the Western Force for 2024 and 2025 on $1.6 million per year.

Crichton, 27, has been linked with a return to rugby union for quite some time. Rumours surrounding Cam Murray and Payne Haas have come and gone, but Crichton has remained in RA’s sights.

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Before all the fame and glamour that comes with NRL stardom, Crichton was an exciting talent in rugby union. After impressing in Sydney’s GPS competition, he went on to play for the Australian Schoolboys.

Crichton later penned a deal with the South Sydney Rabbitohs, and has gone on to achieve practically everything that the sport has to offer in terms of team success.

The New South Wales Blues and Australian Kangaroos representative has won an NRL Premiership, a World Cup Challenge, and a Rugby League World Cup.

It’s a bold move for Rugby Australia who appear in desperate need of some genuine star power from the rival code. Crichton could possibly join Roosters teammate Joseph Suaalii in the 15-player game.

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Poorfour 5 hours ago
The AI advantage: How the next two Rugby World Cups will be won

AI models are really just larger and less transparent variants of the statistical models that have been in use since Moneyball was invented. And a big difference between the Icahn centre’s results and AI today is that ChatGPT-like Large Language Models can explain (to some degree) how they reached their conclusions. In terms of what impact they will have, I suspect it will have two primary impacts: 1) It will place a premium on coaching creativity 2) It will lead to more selections that baffle fans and pundits. Analysts will be able to run the models both ways: they will see their own team’s and players’ weaknesses and strengths as well as the opposition’s. So they will have a good idea at what the other team will be targeting and the decisive difference may well be which coaches are smart enough to think of a gameplan that the other side didn’t identify and prepare for. For players, it places a premium on three key things: 1) Having a relatively complete game with no major weaknesses (or the dedication to work on eliminating them) 2) Having the tactical flexibility to play a different game every week 3) Having a point of difference that is so compelling that there isn’t a defence for it. (3) is relatively rare even among pro players. There have been only a handful of players over the years where you knew what they were going to do and the problem was stopping it - Lomu would be the classic example. And even when someone does have that, it’s hard to sustain. Billy Vunipola in his prime was very hard to stop, but fell away quite badly when the toll on his body began to accumulate. So coaches will look for (1) - a lack of exploitable weaknesses - and (2) - the ability to exploit others’ weaknesses - ahead of hoping for (3), at least for the majority of the pack. Which is likely to mean that, as with the original Moneyball, competent, unshowy players who do the stuff that wins matches will win out over outrageous talents who can’t adapt to cover their own weaknesses. Which will leave a lot of people on the sidelines sputtering over the non-inclusion of players whose highlights reels are spectacular, but whose lowlight reels have been uncovered by AI… at least until the point where every fan has access to a sporting analysis AI.

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