The rumours around Jack Wighton returning to the State of Origin arena are heating up with the Rabbitohs star having reportedly “made himself available” for Blues selection.
Wighton cited family reasons and wanting to win a premiership at the Raiders last year for retiring from representative football in 2023, but it appears he is keen to return.
Veteran journalist Brent Read told Triple M’s The Rush Hour the Blues are entering a “new era” marked by the hiring of Michael Maguire.
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Maguire is set to bring in that new era with a camp at NSWRL headquarters this weekend with a squad of up to 40 potential Blues players.
However, Read says Wighton probably won’t be in attendance.
”Jack won’t be at the camp this weekend but he has as I understand it said, look if I’m in calculations and you want me I’ll give it some serious thought,” he said.
“It says about the depth of the camp that Jack isn’t considered a walk up starter.
“He’s the sort of player [that] I reckon has never let New South Wales down, the sort of bloke we say would always be in a Queensland team because in Queensland we select a bit differently.
“Interesting that he’s made himself available … It’s a new era right? He’s a guy who wants to be apart of it and who has rethought his decision.”
Wighton’s Origin rethink has been taken by some observers as a hint that he no longer wanted to play for the Blues under former coach Brad Fittler, who controversially left him out of the team for Game III in 2022, despite the fact he was the team’s best player in Game I.
Meanwhile, Maguire has been tasked with leading NSW back to the winners circle with the Maroons having won the past two Origin series.
This weekend’s camp will be a good opportunity for Maguire and the new coaching staff to “set the standards” according to Read.
“This is the beginning of it,” Read said.
“There will be about 35 players who come together and it will be the first chance for Madge to lay down his expectations for this year, what he wants from his players and what they’ll have to do to be in the team this year.
“I think over the past couple of years the standards at slipped with NSW and he’s there to repair it.”
Originally published as ‘Made himself available’: Wighton-Blues reunion rumours heat up as ‘new era’ dawns for NSWRL