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Where in the world do you play Jack Wighton?

Jack Brady NRL.com Thu, May 08, 2014 - 2:45 PM

Jack Wighton shone in the centres during this year's City-Country clash in Dubbo. Copyright: Col Whelan

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a centre? No it's Canberra Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton. 

Last Sunday afternoon's City-Country game added further fuel to the fire of those wondering why Jack Wighton isn't playing in the more familiar position of centre considering the Raiders' indifferent start to the season – after again being named in the No.6 jumper to take on the Warriors this Saturday afternoon. 

Country Origin coach Trent Barrett is one that sees Jack Wighton as a centre at this point in his young career after the versatile backline utility produced 19 runs for 172 metres (10 metres short of topping the game in this statistic), one line break and 13 tackles for Country last Sunday afternoon.

"At this stage I think centre is his position but I think if Jack had a dominant hooker and a dominant halfback playing outside of him – he could handle five-eighth," Barrett said.

"I think he looked really comfortable [in the centres for Country] and defensively he was outstanding, but I think he could play anywhere Jack; put him on the wing or in the back-row and it doesn't matter he's a good player."

As the Raiders brace themselves for an Eden Park showdown with a similarly struggling Warriors outfit, teammate Paul Vaughan – who was there firsthand to watch Wighton's brilliant performance in the centres on Sunday – believes that the youngster has what it takes to cut it in the halves.

"He's a class player wherever he plays. He's a quality player and wherever plays I think he'll excel," Vaughan said.

"He's going well – he's new to that five-eighth position in grade and I think he's got to build on it and he'll get better as the year goes on."

At the end of the day, Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has the ultimate say on where his now five-eighth plays, and who's Wighton to argue? The quietly spoken 21-year-old kept his cards close to his chest when quizzed on his preferred position.

"I love the centres. But I'm happy to play anywhere," Wighton told NRL.com.

"I'm always happy to try and learn a new position and new skills obviously so I'll do my best where ever they put me.

"[Stuart] has giving me a lot. He's just been telling me to stay positive and keep doing what you're doing and keep growing each week."

While Wighton is not a terrible five-eighth by any means – his two tries, a 40/20, two try-assists and five line-break assists this season are a testament to this – you can't help but think how much better the centres could serve the rookie in the tender beginnings of his NRL career.