Samoa’s golden-point hero Stephen Crichton revealed he had never kicked a field goal at any level prior to the World Cup semi final and was “zero from four” across his career.
Crichton iced the contest with an 83rd minute field goal in extra time on Sunday morning (AEDT), sending Matt Parish’s side through to the World Cup final at Old Trafford.
The 22-year-old Penrith star had his field goal “license” revoked by Panthers coach Ivan Cleary, but after slotting the matchwinner Crichton is confident he have it reinstated.
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“I was zero from four, the Penrith boys will never let me do it again, but hopefully the boys are watching and I get my license back,” Crichton said.
“I have never hit one before, but Clez (Cleary) will be watching, and he will be happy that I finally hit one.”
England scored in the 77th minute to send the contest to golden-point, only five minutes after Crichton crossed for his second try, breaking away for a 40-metre intercept.
After Crichton’s field goal sailed through the posts, the Samoan team erupted into celebrations, embracing after dumping the hosts out of the tournament.
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While the pressure was on, Crichton backed himself to step up in the big moment, even though he wasn’t sure it was going through the posts off the boot.
“I practised it every training session, you never know when these moments come about and if it did come around, like it did, I knew I’d done the work to slot it,” Crichton said.
“I was just there on the right as an option for Milford, if they did pressure him I was there, that was the set-up we planned.
“I thought I hit it short, but just watching the ref and seeing what he was going to do, once he blew the whistle, all the emotions hit me then.
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“Got emotional with the boys on the field, because it takes a lot to put our little country on the map.”
Samoa were embarrassed by England in the World Cup opener on October 16 and Crichton said he knew that Shaun Wane’s side wouldn’t give up in the dying stages of the clash.
But Parish’s team have now “turned it around” and Crichton is proud to represent the nation he was born in.
“Talking to a few of the boys throughout the season, and the boys that really wanted to play made that decision and this is what we striven for,” Crichton said.
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“To put our little country on the map and I think we have done that as well, credit to the boys that had the opportunity to play elsewhere and chose the motherland too.”
Samoa line-up against competition heavyweights Australia in the grand final and Crichton will face Panthers teammates Liam Martin, Isaah Yeo and Nathan Cleary.
James Fisher-Harris and Martin went toe-to-toe in the Kangaroos’ semi final win over the Kiwis, and Crichton believes the backrower will once again be up for the challenge.
“100 per cent (Panthers players will clash), probably Marto and Romey going at it, so it should be good and excited for the challenge as well,” Crichton said.