Canberra veteran Sia Soliola has pushed the claims of teammate Jack Wighton to be the bench utility for New South Wales this Origin series, saying his sizzling form and versatility made him perfect for the role.
Wighton has made very post a winner in his shift from fullback to five-eighth in the first nine rounds of the season for the Raiders.
The 26-year-old said NSW coach Brad Fittler had not contacted him, but if he was selected in the Blues squad in just under a fortnight's time it would be the highlight of his representative career which already includes caps for the Indigenous All Stars, NSW Country and the Prime Minister's XIII.
"I'd back any one of our boys [to play Origin] to be honest," Soliola said
"But Jack's had a transition from fullback to five-eighth and his level of experience in multiple positions, not just those two, means he can cover multiple positions which I think could add a bit of value to the squad.
"The great thing about Jack is he's very athletic and you put him anywhere and he's that sort of player who shines."
The man himself downplayed the Origin talk, saying he knew he had a tough task ahead of him this weekend as the Raiders host South Sydney at GIO Stadium on Saturday night.
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"My main focus is here at the moment and it's always a dream to pull on the sky-blue jersey, but at the minute I'm focusing only on the Rabbitohs," Wighton said.
Canberra received mixed news on Tuesday about the knee injury that saw Jordan Rapana fail to finish the game in the loss to the Sydney Roosters last weekend.
A posterior cruciate ligament strain means the winger will be sidelined for no more than a month as his stop-start 2019 continues, having already missed game one due to a shoulder operation.
Rapana's absence again opens the door for Bailey Simonsson who has impressed his teammates in his short time in Raider lime green.
"You take the good with the bad and it's unfortunate we won't have Jordan this week but he won't be out for as long as we suspected," Soliola said.
"But in saying that we've got guys who can cover that position, we had Bailey on the weekend so I dare say he'll just fit in right there."
After at one stage trailing by 24 points against the Roosters, the Raiders know they cannot afford to give that kind of a head start against a Rabbitohs side that has won four out of their last five.
"They're the kind of challenges we need to perform at, Roosters, Souths and Melbourne they're really setting the benchmark for the comp," Soliola said.
"Those squads are the ones you want to test yourselves against because they're playing some really good football and the results they are putting out."
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There is a mounting injury toll at the club, with Rapana, Joe Tapine (ankle), John Bateman (eye socket) and Joey Leilua (neck) in the casualty ward.
"That's the big challenge for us right now having all of these influential guys out," Soliola said.
"Looking at the blokes that are willing to step up and take charge, we've got trust in the guys who are going to fill in knowing they can do the job because that's all down to the hard work you do through the off-season.
"You want guys to continue to perform no matter where it is, whether it's Mounties or first grade.
"You want to maintain that level of football so that when you are required to step up to."