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Fittler's "tough" call to overlook Wighton for Origin decider

Jack Wighton was one of the heroes for the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues in Game One of the Ampol State of Origin series which is why it was "tough" for coach Brad Fittler to leave him out of the team for the decider at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Wednesday 13 July.

Wighton was named 18th man for Game Three with Fittler deciding to stand by the team which won Game Two 44-12 at Optus Stadium at Perth to level the series. Stephen Crichton and Matt Burton have been retained as centres while utility Siosifa Talakai has kept his spot on the bench.

The Canberra Raiders five-eighth terrorised Queensland in the Game One loss after scoring a try, making two line breaks, four tackle busts and running for 184 metres. He was unavailable for selection in Game Two after contracting COVID-19 just before the squad went into camp.

“That was a tough one,” Fittler said.

“I think Sifa, the versatility he gives us on the bench was most probably the reason we went with Sifa over Jack.

“If he’s our 18th player that means there are 17 blokes who are playing pretty good to be in front of him.”

Fittler said it was unlikely that he would change his 1-17 and elevate Wighton into the starting side, but there was a long way to go until teams had to be finalised for the game.

“I don’t think so, we’ll wait and see,” he said.

“We’ve still got nine days to go, the way we train, and you can always get injuries so the good thing is he can just about play anywhere if need be.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.