June 13, 2024

Jack Wighton has hinted at the possibility of making a comeback to representative football, although the South Sydney recruit will not be present at the upcoming Blues camp this weekend.

Having retired from representative football last season, there was curiosity about whether Wighton would be among the 40 potential or likely NSW players assembling at the camp in NSWRL headquarters in Homebush Bay. As initially disclosed by this source, the newly appointed Blues coach, Michael Maguire, expresses a keen interest in reintegrating the former Canberra playmaker into the representative squad.

Wighton has expressed his eagerness to increase his tally of 10 appearances in the New South Wales jersey, but he is also determined to demonstrate his commitment to his new team, the Rabbitohs. While Souths are unlikely to impede his representation of the state, the foundation club secured his signing with the understanding that he would be available for them during the State of Origin.

The club is expected to be significantly affected during the Origin period, with key players like Cameron Murray, Cody Walker, Damien Cook, Latrell Mitchell, Campbell Graham, Keaon Koloamatangi, Tevita Tatola, and Jai Arrow being considered for state duties.

Although Wighton hasn’t definitively reversed his decision to retire from representative football, there is a likelihood that he could make a return to the Blues after a 12-month break. After serving an extended period as Canberra’s five-eighth, Wighton is anticipated to fit into the Rabbitohs’ star-studded backline at left centre. This is a position he has previously occupied at the representative level, and Maguire is also likely to contemplate utilizing him as a super-sub off the bench if he makes himself available.

Maguire, who previously served as an assistant coach in Canberra, shares a strong bond with Wighton from their shared time in the nation’s capital.

“When you’ve got a clean sheet, you’re definitely going to chat to everyone that might be available to you,” Maguire stated in an interview with this source after his appointment late last year.

“I have a great fondness for Jack. We had some quality time together at Canberra. He’s a big-game player, and everyone is aware of that. The crucial thing for him is figuring out his role at Souths so he can showcase his best performance.”

All players who contributed to last year’s series for the Blues will receive invitations to the camp, along with around a dozen other contenders in the selection mix.

One notable attendee is Joseph Suaalii, who has been invited despite his decision to switch to rugby union on a $5 million deal at the end of the season. Maguire shares a relationship with Suaalii from their time together at South Sydney, back when the then-teenager was considered the most sought-after schoolboy talent of his generation.

Jack Wighton could be back for the Blues.

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