Chad Townsend.
The Sydney Roosters have snapped up North Queensland half Chad Townsend for the 2025 season. Image by Scott Radford-Chisholm/AAP PHOTOS
  • rugby league

Tedesco backs Cowboy Townsend to add value to Roosters

George Clarke July 3, 2024

James Tedesco has welcomed the Sydney Roosters’ signing of Chad Townsend as the club prepare to cap a bumper week in which they’ve retained back-rower Angus Crichton and got the green light to sign Mark Nawaqanitawase.

With Luke Keary to leave at the end of the 2024 campaign, North Queensland playmaker Townsend has signed for next season on a one-year deal.

It follows a busy seven days for the Bondi club, following the news Crichton has penned a two-year extension and Nawaqanitawase will join after his Olympic sevens exploits.

Townsend’s short-term deal will be a bridge between the time when Sam Walker and Sandon Smith, who Trent Robinson has backed as long-term halves prospects, are ready for the weekly pressures of the NRL.

“Having two young guys like Sam and Sandon, it’s handy to have an experienced leader like Chad,” Tedesco said.

“He’s been around the game for a long time now, he’s had success, won a grand final, he’s led different teams to success.

“That’s a win-win for all of us to have Chad’s experience here if we need him, just guiding the young halves with his experience and leadership is going to be a big positive.”

Townsend’s experience will be vital to the Roosters’ hopes of maintaining a challenge in 2025.

Keary and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves are off to the Super League, while Joey Manu and Joseph Aukuso-Suaalii will head to rugby union.

Crichton said he expected to follow that valuable quartet out of the door after he was dropped for the club’s season-opener in Las Vegas.

Adding to his uncertainty was the Roosters’ failed attempt to sign Gold Coast wrecking-ball David Fifita.

But Crichton has fought back and has been a standout for the Roosters and the NSW State of Origin side.

“I was told it was going to be my last year,” Crichton said.

“There was pretty strong mail that they weren’t looking to re-sign me.

“I was preparing myself to come back in and finish on a high.

“(To) play some footy and respect some of these guys, these legends, Keary, Jared … I wanted to make sure I was a part of their last season.”

Angus Crichton (centre) of the Sydney Roosters.
 Angus Crichton has been in electric form for the Roosters and Blues this season. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS 

Crichton was close to switching to the 15-man game, with his agent holding talks with French clubs after Rugby Australia made loud overtures to sign him in the wake of Suaalii’s defection.

The prospect of the 28-year-old former schoolboy rugby union star lining up for the Wallabies appears less likely given that by the time his two-year extension expires he will be on the wrong side of 30.

Coming the other way, Nawaqanitawase will give the Roosters a boost heading into the back end of the season – although Crichton conceded the winger’s adaption to the 13-man code may be a slow burn.

“Coming from union myself, it is a big challenge getting to know the game having not played before,” Crichton said.

“It’s probably a bit easier to do it in the outside backs rather than the back row.

“I’m sure he’ll do a successful transition and there’s a pretty long road (ahead).”