Jack's ahead of his time

RUGBY LEAGUE

By MICHELLE COOK

TONIGHT’S Rugby League All Stars match will cap off an unforgettable week for Jack Wighton.

The Orange product last weekend went into camp with Laurie Daley’s Indigenous All Stars before celebrating his 20th birthday on Monday.

The Orange CYMS junior hoped to be selected in the Indigenous side but didn’t expect it to be so soon.

“I was going to make it a goal for next year but I made it this year. I was very, very happy,” he said.

“I was pretty nervous when I first found out I got selected but I’ve been rooming with Birdy [Greg Bird] and he’s been really good for me and he’s calmed my nerves a lot.

“Laurie Daley’s also been really good for me and he’s got me enjoying the week’s activities and learning a lot at training.

“I’ve been training at centre and wing and it’s a bit unbelievable running off players I idolised like JT [Jonathon Thurston] and GI [Greg Inglis]. I pinch myself sometimes to believe I’m out there with them.”

Wighton said he’s loved being in camp this week, working his some of the game’s top players and also visiting different communities.

“It’s awesome. It’s a good experience,” Wighton said.

“We’ve been doing a lot of community work, visiting people. It’s been great.”

Wighton said the Indigenous players were coming together well and he expects them to be a good match for the NRL All Stars.

“The boys have been bonding really well,” he said.

“I reckon we’re gonna go well.”

Wighton was one of Daley’s selections for the team despite the young gun having only played nine NRL matches.

The centre said he has learnt a lot from the camp but possibly the best thing he will get out of the experience is some new friends.

“I’ll have a lot more mates off the field after this,” Wighton said. 

Daley said the key to winning the fourth All Stars clash could be as simple as hanging onto the ball, with fatigue a big issue so early in the season.

“I think that’s what happened to us towards the end of last year’s game when we fatigued from defending so much,” Daley said.

“We need to make sure we focus on holding onto the ball and the cliched stuff like completing our sets.

“If we do that it will give JT and GI and Benny Barba and Hodgo [Justin Hodges] and those type of blokes the space and opportunity to showcase their skills.”

The All Stars match kicks off tonight at 7:30pm at Suncorp Stadium.

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