FORMER Orange junior Jack Wighton has become one of the first beneficiaries of the NRL’s new broadcast deal after re-signing for a further season with the Canberra Raiders.
The Raiders announced yesterday that the 19-year-old has agreed to a contract extension which will keep him at Canberra until the end of the 2014 season.
The talented utility couldn’t contain his excitement at inking a new agreement witht he club.
“I’m just really excited,” Wighton told the Central Western Daily yesterday.
“It’s really good for me and, I hope, really good for the club.”
The Raiders had been desperate to retain Wighton after he broke into the NRL ranks early this season with solid performances at wing and centre.
The Bloomfield and CYMS junior is considered a player the Raiders can build their team around for the next decade.
Wighton is being groomed as the club’s next long-term playmaker, but Wighton confirmed he will likely bide his time in the outside backs next season with Terry Campese due to return from injury.
“I haven’t really set any goals as far as positions are concerned,” Wighton said.
“I played first grade on the wing this year before I was injured and I’ll just be happy to get back on the park.”
Wighton’s 2012 season was cut short when he damaged his toe in a freak trampoline accident, but the talented youngster has recently returned to full training.
So what are the chances he will run on for the Raiders as they charge for a semi-finals berth?
“I’m really concentrating on next year at the moment,” Wighton said.
“The injury feels fine, but I’m not going to rush it. I want to be at 100 per cent before I look at playing again.”
Wighton began 2012 with Canberra’s Toyota Cup side, which is currently riding high on top of the ladder, so there is also an opening to make his comeback in the NRL’s junior ranks if his recovery progresses.
The Raiders’ hopes of toppling NRL competition leaders Canterbury have received a boost with representative front-rower Tom Learoyd-Lahrs named to make his return against the Bulldogs tomorrow night.
The Australia, NSW and Country player has been sidelined for the past three games with a hamstring injury and has been named on the bench in the only change to the Canberra side that beat the Sydney Roosters 24-20 last Saturday.
David Furner’s side is equal on points with Brisbane and Wests Tigers who are seventh and eighth on the ladder with Canberra ninth due to an inferior points differential with two rounds remaining.