In 2019 Jack Wighton was easily the NRL’s breakout star after transitioning from fullback to five-eighth in a move that many did not think would work out.
Fast forward 12 months and Wighton is now a New South Wales and Australian representative player, and the reigning Clive Churchill medallist. Is what we saw from the five-eighth in 2019 sustainable, or will we see the 27-year-old’s form drop from here?
One factor that could either boost or hinder Wighton’s form is the Canberra Raiders new signing George Williams from Super League side the Wigan Warriors. Can they gel and will a new halves partner impact Jack Wighton’s form?
The Australian International took many opponents by surprise in 2019, with next to no one realising just how easily he’d pick up the five-eighth role, meaning his position as one of the game’s top halves is now cemented. Teams will now be working harder to lock Wighton down and give him less opportunity to run the ball. It will be interesting to see how well he can use his running game against the game’s top sides this season.
Playing with the New South Wales and Australian teams, both having winning cultures, has given him more experience being surrounded by the game’s best players.
The knowledge and work ethic Wighton would have attained from time spent in representative camps is invaluable, which has clearly shown the five-eighth how to maintain consistent high level performances.
The Canberra Raiders lineup as a whole will still be largely similar to 2019, meaning Ricky Stuart will likely be setting up the Raiders’ attack similar to how he did last season which should allow Wighton to maintain his playing style with minimal changes.
Overall, Jack Wighton shouldn’t see too much of a form drop in 2020 if any, the Canberra Raiders are building a winning culture at their club spearheaded by him in the halves.