Crichton uncovers family's Anzac connection

Angus Crichton will take a newfound World War I connection into his first Anzac Day clash as the traditional Roosters-St George Illawarra fixture debuts at the SCG.

Before even playing his first NRL game for the Tricolours, Crichton was researching his family's wartime past at the behest of coach Trent Robinson earlier this year.

As the premiers detoured to France en route to the World Club Challenge in England in February, each player and staff member made a short presentation to teammates on their connection to World War I during a moving visit to Villers-Brettoneux and nearby battlefields.

Among the 30,000 Australian and New Zealand casualties in the Battle of the Somme in 1916, Crichton and his family traced a century-old connection to his roots in country NSW.

"I had someone way, way back, a great uncle served over there," Crichton told NRL.com.

"There wasn't too much information on him, his name was John Roxburgh-Crichton, my grandfather dug up some history and that was really interesting because I didn't know I had any family or distant relatives involved there.

"I remember he got promoted to corporal and was killed in action four days later. His brother came over the day after he died as well, again it's just another world and lifetime away.

"One of the memorials was the lost people of the Somme, all the names engraved on the wall and it gives you an idea of just how many people didn't come home.

"I'm only 23 and I guess my generation doesn't hear too much about World War I or World War II for that matter.

"So to go to these places, hear the stories and see these little villages and try and place it all, imagine what the Aussies did for them, it makes you proud to be Australian."

Closer to home, Crichton has long watched the annual April 25 fixture from afar, be it in Young when he was on school holidays or while at inner-city rivals South Sydney.

That the contest will be held with the SCG's history and prestige as its backdrop only adds to the occasion for the NSW back-rower.

Early ticket sales for the match are strong, with a 38,000-capacity crowd possible when the SCG is reconfigured to host rugby league.

The Roosters and Dragons have agreed to both host the marquee match at the historic ground for the next three years, before moving back to the redeveloped Allianz Stadium in 2022.

"I think there's always a big crowd but there is a bit of chat about it being sold out or getting there," Crichton said.

"To be a part of that would be amazing, especially in my first Anzac Day game for the Roosters.

"That's a special enough event in itself. A crowd like that would be even more exciting.

"You'd see the full house at Allianz Stadium and I had a lot of my mates that would go to the game, a lot my friends are Roosters fans so I'd see them go out for beers before, go to the game and making a day of it.

"I'd be watching it, watching that atmosphere and how big it is on the calendar and now to be a part of it will be something extra special."