Raiders star Jack Wighton has been called into the New South Wales squad by Coach Laurie Daley to enable the promising youngster to gain experience of life inside the Blues camp; a strong indication that he is well in the frame for selection at some stage in the future.
Daley has been a long-time admirer of Wighton having previously selected the Orange CYMS junior in NSW Emerging Origin squads.
Despite playing five-eighth for Canberra in the opening nine rounds of the season, Wighton was selected in the centres for Country and was highly impressive in the side’s 26 all draw with City in May at Catlex Park, Dubbo.
Since reverting back to his natural position for the Raiders, the Australian Schoolboy representative has registered some marvellous statistics in his last four appearances: three tries, three try assists, six line breaks, two line break assists and an average of five tackle breaks, 122 metres and 13 well-timed tackles per match.
Raiders Captain Terry Campese, a Blues representative in 2009, has no doubt that his prodigiously talented team mate will succeed in State of Origin one day and has backed Wighton to do the job if for some reason he is called upon to play.
“The way he handled himself in Country, I might be biased, but in my view he was man of the match,” Campese said. “He's a great defender and a great ball runner, so if he did get selected there, he'd definitely do a good job for the Blues.
Regardless of whether Wighton takes the field or not, Campese says the experience of being a part of the squad will do wonders for his development.
“His selection in the Blues squad is obviously an indication of how highly Jack is regarded as a representative prospect and it is a good reward for the hard work that he has put in at training and for his performances for the Raiders.
“Being surrounded by the best players in NSW will provide Jack with a nice injection of confidence and will help to fast-track his development in taking his game to a new level.
“I’m over the moon for Jack, it will be a great experience for him.”