Crichton signs with NRL's Bulldogs

Dual premiership winner Stephen Crichton has signed to join Canterbury from Penrith on a four-year deal after the 2023 NRL season.

DYLAN EDWARDS.
DYLAN EDWARDS. Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Stephen Crichton has signed a four-year contract with Canterbury just days after telling Penrith teammates he would be leaving the club at the end of the 2023 NRL season.

The dual-premiership winning centre will be at the Bulldogs from 2024 and appears set to transition to his preferred position of fullback, a spot Dylan Edwards has occupied at the Panthers since before Crichton made his NRL debut in 2019.

Given his status as a State of Origin player, premiership winner and Dally M centre of the year, 22-year-old Crichton had for months been linked with a move away from the Panthers, who continue to pay the price of their sustained success.

Premiership Panthers Api Koroisau, Matt Burton, Viliame Kikau, Tyrone May, Kurt Capewell, Charlie Staines and Paul Momirovski have all left the club in the past two seasons to seek opportunities and pay rises elsewhere.

The Bulldogs lack an established fullback and are now coached by ex-Panthers assistant Cameron Ciraldo, so they appeared the natural destination for Crichton.

Crichton becomes the third premiership-winning Panther to defect to Belmore in recent times, following Burton and Kikau.

Spencer Leniu, whose contract runs out at the end of 2023, has also been linked to the Bulldogs while stuck behind Moses Leota and James Fisher-Harris in the starting prop stakes at Penrith.

Elsewhere, Brisbane have confirmed veteran forward Martin Taupau will join them for the 2023 season.

As AAP reported on Friday, ex-Manly star Taupau toured Broncos facilities this week and has now made his move to Red Hill official.

The Broncos feel the 222-gamer will bring leadership qualities to their young forward pack, which boasts Origin players including Payne Haas, Patrick Carrigan and Thomas Flegler.

"Marty has been playing in the NRL since 2010 so he brings good experience and he was very impressive when we spoke to him on the values he brings to our club," coach Kevin Walters said.

"He has a real presence about him and I think that will really add to the group and what we are building here at the club both on and off the field."