Samoa star Stephen Crichton to leave Penrith Panthers at season’s end

Samoa superstar Stephen Crichton will leave Penrith Panthers at the end of the season to pursue an opportunity with a rival club in the NRL.

The 22-year-old’s management team has notified the NRL champions that he will be seeking opportunities elsewhere from 2024.

Crichton’s next destination has yet to be confirmed. He has been heavily linked with Canterbury Bulldogs, where former Panthers assistant Cameron Ciraldo is the head coach.

On leaving Penrith, Crichton said: “It was the hardest decision to make, but now my full focus is on the 2023 season and finishing my time at Panthers as strong as I can.

“It’s going to be tough to leave my team-mates, but we will have our chance to make more memories this year.

“I know my friendships at Panthers won’t finish here but will last forever.”

Crichton has scored 41 tries in 76 games for the Panthers since making his first team debut in 2019.

The Apia-born centre or full-back has played a key role in helping Penrith win back-to-back NRL Premierships.