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Jack Wighton named to debut for Bunnies

Jarred Cross -

South Sydney have confirmed Jack Wighton will make his debut for the club after naming the former Dally M medallist in the centres to face their old foes nine-months after putting pen to paper at Redfern. 

The Bunnies named their Friday night side to face the Roosters on Tuesday afternoon.

After missing the opening rounds of the 2024 season with suspension, Wighton confirmed it has been a long wait to run out for his new side before playing down a knee jerk assessment of their credentials after a 0-2 start, along with his inclusion as a means of turning things around. 

The 31-year-old told reporters on Monday he has been “working a long time to get here” and is looking to “keep things simple” and “get an early touch, early tackle and play from there”.

Wighton played 242 games across 12 seasons for Canberra ahead of a touchy exit from the club.

The Wiradjuri man said “every single person I've ever met around this area has been working me up” ahead of the clash against his new club’s most bitter rivals on the other side of ANZAC Parade. 

Asked if he was looking to contribute first game back, Wighton said “that's what I'm paid to do, and that's what I'm hoping to do.”

Souths drew some criticism on news young half Lachlan Ilias was set to be dropped after just two first grade games, with back-up no.7 Dean Hawkins his likely replacement. 

Prior to Hawkins being named on Tuesday, Wighton poured cold water on any speculation he could slot into the halves to accompany Cody Walker. 

“I'm going to do whatever the team needs me to do and at the moment it’s playing left centre and that's what I'm really excited to do,” he said. 

Despite the winless start, Wighton said he’s not rushing into a panic saying the defensive effort has been good and conceded his club shouldn’t have been in the positions they had been keeping themselves in games before their opposition took things away from them - particularly against the Broncos in round two. 

After working back to 12-all early in the second half in Brisbane at the weekend, the homeside retook control of the match through the second half to run out 28-18 winners. 

It came after a similar slip after the break against the Sea Eagles in Las Vegas to start the year. 

“I'm gonna be really honest, I'm really positive because it's been pretty obvious how much we’ve shot ourselves in the foot. But we're in the games,” Wighton said.

“I'm gonna take that as a real positive. If we fix the little things, we win games. Simple as that.”

Wighton also revealed the Bunnies have introduced a swear jar to training following Latrell Mitchell’s controversial post-match interview at the weekend, before keeping tight lipped on who the biggest contributors are likely to be across the season.

On Mitchell’s remarks, Wighton said “he probably shouldn't have said it (obscenities) so many times, but it was a slip of the tongue, we've got a swear jar at training now and we'll leave it at that”.

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