HE’S been there before but Jack Wighton was still surprised at his selection in the Country Origin side on Sunday.
The Orange product made his Country debut last year, playing in the centres during the side’s 18-12 win over City in Coffs Harbour.
Wighton has been playing five-eighth for the Canberra Raiders this season but will pull on the No.3 jersey in this Sunday’s clash with City to be played at Dubbo’s Apex Oval.
“I’m stoked. I didn’t see it coming, so it’s great,” Wighton told the Central Western Daily.
“I wasn’t sure [I’d get picked] because I’ve been playing in the halves and I haven’t been going too great.”
The 21-year-old said he was excited to be packing for his second Country Origin camp.
“I’m really excited. I’ve got a lot of family in Gilgandra, as well as Orange and I’ve even got a bit in Dubbo"
He’ll be joined by Raiders teammates Josh McCrone and Paul Vaughan, who have both been named on the bench.
“I’m looking forward to being around the rest of the Country boys,” Wighton said of the week ahead.
“There’s still a lot of pride in the team. It’s good learning to work with new players and new playing styles. It’s a great week.”
Adding to Wighton’s anticipation is knowing the game is close to home for him.
“I’m really excited. I’ve got a lot of family in Gilgandra, as well as Orange and I’ve even got a bit in Dubbo,” he said.
Wighton would love nothing more than to help Country celebrate a win over City in front of his family and friends.
“That’s the goal,” Wighton grinned.
“I just really want to play well. We’ve got a great team.”
A win would be a good boost for Wighton after the Raiders suffered a demoralising 54-18 NRL loss to Manly on Sunday.
Raiders will have another tough assignment in their round nine match when they travel to New Zealand to take on the Warriors.
Wighton said this weekend’s general bye had come at the right time for his Raiders teammates.
“This weekend off will be good for the team,” he said.
Sunday’s City v Country Origin match will be played at Dubbo’s Apex Oval from 3pm