Paul Gallen calls on Jack Wighton to be candid about the REAL reason for his shocking decision to retire at just 30 years old.
- Wighton said his decision was for family reasons
- Gallen thinks there’s more to it
- Wants the Raiders star to explain his decision
Canberra Raiders star Jack Wighton’s shock decision to retire at the age of 30 has sparked intense speculation as former NSW captain Paul Gallen called on him to reveal the real reason behind his call-up.
Wighton, who is currently out of contract for next season, has officially ruled himself out of this year’s State of Origin series via a phone call to NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler just six weeks after the first Origin in Adelaide.
Wighton played seven Tests for Australia and 10 State of Origin games for NSW in multiple positions, and NSW adviser Greg Alexander has described his retirement as a ‘blow’ ahead of this year’s series.
Alexander confirmed that NSW coach Brad Fittler spoke to Wighton on Sunday and that the player’s reason for his retirement was to “focus on the club and family”.
Wighton has called NSW coach Brad Fittler and announced his retirement from representative footy, including the Blues
Former New South Wales skipper Paul Gallen wants the Raiders star to explain the real reasons behind his shocking decision to retire
To write for Channel Nine’s broad sports worldGallen acknowledged that players had retired in the past, but at Wighton’s age that was certainly rare.
“I must admit I was surprised when someone told me that Jack Wighton was retiring from representative football,” he wrote.
“I’d love to hear the real story from Wighton myself, but if it’s true, it’s definitely unusual.
“I can remember another New South Wales player who did it in my day, and that was Championship center Jamie Lyon.
“I myself retired before my NRL career was over, but I was much older than Wighton is now.
“Just like Cameron Smith when he told Queensland coach Kevin Walters not to pick him ahead of the 2018 series. He was 35 years old and already had 42 Origin games to his name.’
Wighton (right) and Latrell Mitchell are great friends, but may be battling for the same spot in the Blues in 2023
The 30-year-old played for Australia during the winning Rugby League World Cup run and was one of the top Kangaroos
Gallen praised Wighton as a rare player with an intimidation factor, a strong body for a back, and an all-rounder with excellent skills.
Jack has never let the Blues down in his 10 games at that level. You could throw him anywhere on the field and he would do the work for you, and do it well,” he wrote.
“He’s very strong, he’s got a big body for a back, he’s fast and he’s got all the skills.
“He also has that intimidation factor that not many players have. Guys like Jared Waerea-Hargreaves own it, but Wighton might be the only outside back who can intimidate the opposition.’
Wighton said his decision to retire from representative football was for family reasons
The Canberra Raiders star is out of contract for next year and the Dolphins could offer him a huge deal
Wighton’s decision comes as a surprise to many, especially given his remarkable form for the Raiders.
His decision has also sparked speculation over who will replace him on the NSW Blues team.
While Alexander said Wighton would be difficult to replace, he added that the return of Latrell Mitchell and Tom Trbojevic after missing last year’s series was a plus.
Alexander also stated that Wighton’s impact was limited not only to its central position, but also to its great utility value.