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Fittler thanks Wighton for distinguished rep career

Westpac NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler has paid tribute to Jack Wighton after the Canberra Raiders captain announced his retirement from representative football.

Wighton, 30, told The Daily Telegraph he was standing down to focus on winning a premiership and to spend more time with his family. He also said he was satisfied with what he had achieved for NSW and Australia and winning the World Cup last year was the perfect way to bow out.

Fittler said Wighton, who wore the Blues jersey 10 times from 2019-2022 playing at centre, five-eighth or off the bench, had always given his all for his state.

“He’s been a loyal and outstanding player in our Origin team,” Fittler said.

“What Jack was able to do in that high-intensity arena time-and-again was put us on the front foot, create some space and opportunity through his sheer strength.

“Who can forget his try in Game One last year, where he received the ball from Jarome Luai and got through the smallest of gaps with Dane Gagai and Selwyn Cobbo closing in and then hanging off him.

“You were always on the edge of your seat when Jack got his hands on the ball because something good could come from it.”

Wighton finishes his representative career with a World Cup win for Australia, two Origin series wins, five All Stars trophies with the Indigenous team, and two wins for NSW Country.

The Raiders former skipper has also claimed two of the greatest awards in club Rugby League – the Churchill Medal after the 2019 NRL Grand Final, and the 2020 Dally M Medal as the best player of the year.

He has played all his 225 NRL games with the Raiders but has decided to go on the open market with his current contract ending in November 2024.

Wighton joined Canberra as a teenager as part of the club's SG Ball side and progressed through the grades to become one of the NRL's best talents. 

He made his NRL debut in 2012 and has played in all back-five positions – wing, centre, fullback - until settling in at No.6 in 2019.

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New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours 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.

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