2020 is, if nothing else, the year of Jack Wighton. A year after he was handed the Clive Churchill medal for an outstanding performance in a losing grand final side he has once again upset the establishment by taking out the Dally M award (the irony of the Sydney based rugby league media being shocked over an award which they determine is fantastic).
These two accolades can be added to Wighton’s growing cabinet – he has his sky blue jersey and the series win to go with it. He has a Mal Meninga medal. He has rep jerseys for both the Kangaroos and the Indigenous All-stars (Wighton is a Wiradjuri man). He did it all while being nurtured through the Canberra system, joining the Raiders system in 2011, before rocketing through the ranks.
At the age of 27 he has achieved or won nearly everything in rugby league.
An NRL premiership is the last piece of the puzzle.
Premierships can be notoriously hard to come by. Just ask Nathan Hindmarsh. Or Benny Elias and Wayne Pearce. Andrew Ettinghausen. Jonathan Thurston was arguably one of the most dominant halves over the last fifteen years and he only has one premiership trophy to show for it (update: well two, but you know what we mean).
Premiership windows are like wormholes – they can close on you at any time. The Raiders have a strong core of rep talent signed until 2023/24. They have the culture of a club reborn. They know what it takes to win. They have depth, even if it was severely tested this year.
There’s only one mountain for Jack and the Raiders left to climb. The final piece of the puzzle sits atop the summit.
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