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Penrith rookie prepares to face NRL idol

Rookie Penrith winger Stephen Crichton used to watch videos of Latrell Mitchell to fire himself up before matches.

On Saturday, the teenager will run out onto the hallowed turf of the SCG to play against his idol in a must-win NRL clash for the Panthers.

A product of Penrith's junior system, the 18-year-old will play just his third NRL game against the Roosters in place of the injured Josh Mansour.

And with Latrell Mitchell declared fit to overcome a calf injury, Crichton knows better than most what his side is going to come up against.

"I haven't played the Roosters and they are big idols I looked to growing up," Crichton said.

"Especially Latrell Mitchell. When I was coming through every week before I ran out on the field I would just watch his highlights to get me pumped.

"And that's how much I want to play like him and be like him as well."

Crichton will play on the left wing and the opposite side of the field from Mitchell on Saturday night.

But as a natural centre, he hopes to be able to replicate the kind of magic Mitchell has made a regular feature of his game at the SCG this season.

"What he is trying to do to us I will probably try and do the same thing back to them," Crichton said.

"I still can't believe I am with them and playing NRL, it's a dream come true. I can't believe it."

Crichton will likely have fellow rookie Billy Burns on his left edge in the back row at some point on Saturday night, with the Parkes junior set to make his debut.

The 20-year-old is a noted line runner on the edge and has long been well known to Penrith's fellow talent from NSW's central west.

"I played against him back home," Panthers centre said Brent Naden, from Wellington.

"It goes back to junior days. I was a couple of years older than him but I watched him play in the local junior league out there.

"His name was all over other teams back home. It was always that you had to watch Billy Burns. He was a good left-edge second-rower.

"He played first grade at a young age out there so he's got the toughness of it too."

© AAP 2019