Canberra Raiders star Jack Wighton has shut down the rumours of a possible State of Origin return, saying “they don’t need me”. The Blues were without Wighton during their series opener loss in Adelaide, where he could have been an option at left centre or as a supersub from the interchange bench. Wighton initially retired from representative football earlier this year but later hinted at a possible comeback. However, after the recent injury concerns surrounding Tom Trbojevic and Latrell Mitchell, Wighton has now confirmed that an Origin comeback is not in his plans.
Speaking after his team’s 20-19 victory over Wests Tigers at Campbelltown on Friday night, Wighton indicated his comfort with his original retirement decision. He stated that he is “comfortable with the players we’ve got and the depth of talent. We all get on the same page and trust each other, and we will go and do the job. That’s where my comfort is.”
Despite Queensland’s comeback in the opening game, Wighton believes they have the talent to bounce back in the second game. He highlighted the young talents in the team, who he believes are capable of doing the job for the full 80 minutes. Wighton spoke highly of his close friend Latrell Mitchell, stating that he is a role model on and off the field and brings a presence and a big boost to the team.
The focus for the Raiders will now turn to honuoring Jarrod Croker, who will celebrate his 300th NRL appearance in front of his home fans. coach Ricky Stuart rested him for Friday night’s game against Wests Tigers, which faced criticism from certain quarters. However, Stuart dismissed the critics, calling them “muppets” during his post-match press conference. Croker appreciated the gesture from Stuart and praised his passion and care for his players.