Jack Wighton has admitted he hasn't ruled out a return for the Blues after seemingly retiring from the State of Origin arena in 2023. The new South Sydney signing left NRL fans perplexed last year after announcing his retirement from rep footy, with the 30-year-old revealing at the time that he wanted to focus more on his family and club footy with Canberra.
The former Raiders star has since made a big-money move to South Sydney, where he will link up with good mate Latrell Mitchell as part of a potent Rabbitohs backline. However, heading into the 2024 season, there has been rumblings the former Blues centre could be considering a backflip.
This comes as Brad Fittler stepped down as Blues coach and Michael Maguire moved into the top job. Maguire helped as a coaching assistant at the Raiders in 2023, alongside his New Zealand coaching job, and has got to know Wighton.
And after speculation Wighton could be considering a representative backflip, the 30-year-old himself has admitted he is willing to leave the door open in 2024 for a potential return. "Ill get my foot in the door with South and put my best foot forward there," Wighton told Nine News.
"And then we'll see where the win blows me there." Wighton admitted he has seen Maguire since moving to Sydney. "He lives around the corner too...apart from Latrell Mitchell and few others we don't got many people here. I went up and had a bit of dinner and took the kids over to have a swim."
— 9News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) February 9, 2024
Wighton will miss the Rabbitohs season opener in the US after picking up a one-game suspension at the end of last year in his final match for the Raiders. While Wighton insists he is focusing on club footy, Maguire recently spoke about Wighton's potential return to the arena with the new Blues coach appearing keen on the decision.
Michael Maguire discusses Jack Wighton's Origin prospects
While Wighton wasn't a part of Maguire's 36-player Blues camp, it hasn't stopped the NSW coach adding further weight to reports about his potential Origin backflip. In a telling insight into Wighton's prospects of suiting up for the Blues in 2024, Maguire talked up how much of a "big game player" the 30-year-old is and suggested the decision could ultimately come down to the Rabbitohs star about whether he returns to the Origin arena.
“I enjoyed working in Canberra over the last 12 months with Ricky Stuart and the playing group including Jack,” Maguire said on SEN radio. “Jack wants to settle himself in Sydney and with his new club (the Rabbitohs)," he added about the reasons why Wighton was not part of the Blues camp.
“He’s still retired but I told him to get himself playing and see how he’s travelling. We’ll have a discussion as the season transpires. We all know he’s a big game player whenever he’s in that arena. In time, I’m sure Jack will decide whether he’s ready to go again.”
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