Yesterday, there was confirmation of one of the biggest signings of the season.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs have announced the signing of Dally M Medallist, Clive Churchill Medallist, and World Cup-winning centre Jack Wighton, for at least the next four seasons today.
Wighton, 30, is regarded as one of the best and most versatile players in the game, capable of playing anywhere in the backline, having played a majority of his representative football in the centres, but also having the size to play at lock or in the second row.
Wighton has played 225 NRL matches for the Canberra Raiders since making his NRL debut against the Titans in round two, 2012. He has scored 284 points from 71 tries for the Raiders.
A huge signing for the Bunnies but it has been over shadowed by the vile social media abuse Wighton received after the announcement.
The Australian international shared an image of messages he received where he was described as a “weak gutted dog” and a “f***ing dog c**t.”
Wighton shared a screenshot of the messages and said: “Stooping low here, for what reason little coward.”
It is something that needs stamping out of sport at present and credit to the NRL who have taken action and the Integrity Unit there is now investigating the messages.
A proud Wiradjuri man and an Orange CYMS junior, Wighton has played seven Test matches for Australia, ten State of Origin games for New South Wales, seven matches for the Indigenous All Stars, four games for Country Origin and one game for the Australian Prime Minister’s XIII. He won the Clive Churchill Medal as the man-of-the-match in the NRL Grand Final in 2019 and the Dally M Medal as the NRL’s best player in 2020. He won two State of Origin series with the New South Wales Blues in 2019 and 2021, and was part of the Australian Kangaroos team that won the 2021 Rugby League World Cup played last season, playing alongside future club teammates Latrell Mitchell and Cameron Murray against Samoa in the World Cup Final.
Rabbitohs Head of Football, Mark Ellison, says Wighton will be a classy addition to the Rabbitohs squad from next season.
“Jack Wighton is one of the elite players in our competition and it is wonderful to be able to add him to our squad for the following four seasons,” Mr Ellison said.
“He has shown both at the Raiders and in representative teams that he can excel at any level. In our discussions with him over the past few weeks, and in his performances on the field over the past decade, he has shown that he will add great value to our team on the park and to our Club off the field.
“He is attracted to the great Indigenous heritage of our Club, to the respect and recognition we have for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and causes, and the fantastic work of Souths Cares in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia.
“He spoke to us about the family feel at the Club and the obvious brotherhood amongst the playing group. Here he will be able to play alongside some of his great mates as well as representative and former club teammates in Latrell Mitchell, Cody Walker, Cameron Murray, Damien Cook, Campbell Graham, Alex Johnston, Isaiah Tass, Shaquai Mitchell and Siliva Havili.
“He was also very impressed by the facilities at our new training base at the USANA Rabbitohs Centre in Maroubra and he feels as though he can help us achieve our collective goal of more premiership success for this Club.
“We feel like he can play his best football with us over the next four seasons and we know he will help us win football games on the field, but he will also help enrich the lives of those in the Rabbitohs and Souths Cares’ communities as well.
“We wish Jack the best of luck for the rest of the season in Canberra and we look forward to him joining the Rabbitohs family later this year ahead of the 2024 season and beyond.”