Wighton cleans up at awards night
JACK Wighton has two more things to add to his rugby league resume after the Canberra Raiders’ presentation night this week.
The five-eighth was named Toyota Cup player of the year and also took out the Gordon McLucas Memorial Award for junior representative player of the year.
He arrived back in Orange on Thursday after a busy season with the Raiders’ under 20s side.
Wighton was thrilled to take out the two awards.
“It was pretty exciting. I was pretty shocked,” he said.
The 18-year-old was honoured to be named the Toyota Cup player of the year because he said there were a number of players who could have taken out the prize.
He earned the junior representative award after captaining NSW in their under 18s win over Queensland.
Raiders’ Toyota Cup coach David Hamilton said Wighton was deserving of the awards.
“He’s had a great year,” Hamilton said.
“He’s someone we go to. He always comes up with something, whether it’s in attack or defence.”
Hamilton said Wighton has been invited to train with the Raiders’ top squad for the 2012 season.
The coach expects Wighton could make the step up to the top grade next year.
“He’s a chance of debuting in the NRL next year,” he said.
“I just think he’ll push for a spot. Probably an outside back just to start, a centre or wing.”
Wighton is eligible to play Toyota Cup for two more years but said he goal was to earn a start in the NRL side.
“That’s my goal. I’ll just do my best,” Wighton said.
The Raiders finished 13th in the 2011 Toyota Cup competition but Hamilton is expecting his side to climb the ladder next year.
“We had our interviews yesterday (Thursday) and the boys are all excited for next year,” Hamilton said.
“It’s given me some new-found enthusiasm.”
Wighton said he plans to make the most of his time off until he has to go back to pre-season training at the start of November.Source: Central Western Daily