Jack Wighton retires from State of Origin after reportedly being 'peeved' by 2022 selection snub
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Jack Wighton’s omission from the 2022 State of Origin decider reportedly led to his decision to retire from representative football.
The Canberra star confirmed his retirement from the Blues and Kangaroos, ruling himself out for Origin contention.
The 30-year-old had become a key part of the squad in recent years, playing 10 games across multiple positions in the side.
NSW selector Greg Alexander confirmed the news to Sydney Morning Herald: “Jack spoke to Freddy and has told him of his disappointing decision to retire from representative football.
“He has said that he wants to focus on family and club footy. It’s a blow for us. He has been an important part of our squad for the last five years and would have been in the mix again. We’ve loved having Jack in camp and in the team.
“He’s an Origin player. He’s been a great player not only for NSW, but for Australia and the Indigenous All Stars. It’s disappointing he won’t be able to be part of this series.”
The decision left many confused as to why he would announce his decision well before the squad had been decided ahead of the first game against Queensland on May 31.
However, NRL analyst Phil Rothfield had claimed that the Raiders player was ‘a bit peeved’ with being snubbed for selection in the 2022 series decider.
Wighton was named as the 18th man in the third game of the series, with Stephen Crichton and Matt Burton picked above him.
The centre had played the first game of the three-game series and had been ruled out of the second due to Covid-19.
Rothfield appeared on NRL 360 claiming that he believed it contributed to the player’s decision, an opinion Paul Kent agreed with.
Kent said, via News Corp: “It’s not like he’s tossed the toys out of the cot.
“He’s not said, ‘Well you didn’t pick me last year, I’m not going to play’.”
Wighton’s playing future is up in the air after he chose not to take up a contract option to remain at the Raiders for an additional year.
Former NRL star Braith Anasta suggested that Wighton was hoping to make himself more desirable for a potential deal with the Dolphins.
Anasta said: “It sort of indicates things are not as we see them.
“There’s more going on than what we’re seeing with his footy with the Raiders and his footy with NSW and obviously he was out of sorts last year a bit with NSW.”
Adding: “He’s not staying in Canberra on big money. He’s apparently willing to take less money to go elsewhere and now he’s stepping down from Origin duties, which he is renowned for being an Origin player and loving it. So what is going on?”