CCTV footage of Jack Wighton’s drunken escapade in early February has been released.
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While scouring the opening round NRL teams and news to inform my picks for the myriad of league tipping competitions available this time of year, I couldn’t help but notice another example of a little cited player phenomenon in the game: the name change.
Despite earning every rugby league talent scout’s favourite moniker “the next Sonny Bill Williams”, I notice Karlos Filiga was named in the centres for the Shark’s Toyota Cup side. This is despite being known in the Bulldogs junior system as Karl McNichol.
Now Karl appears to have had good family related reasons for changing his name, but it got me thinking as to what is behind some of the other obscure name changes throughout the recent history of the game?
Does the name Jackson Kaufusi ring a bell? If not, perhaps that’s because he’s also been known as Lipina Kaufusi and Makasini Richter throughout his career with the Bulldogs and Wests.
Now having grown up playing the game in Sydney, I know the Polynesian community hasn’t sometimes in the past been fond of a birth certificate, but three name changes? Perhaps it was the flying winger’s way of putting a bad season behind him.
Let’s also not forget the booming Raiders, Magpies, Roosters and Souths centre Brandon Pearson, whose name change to Brandon Costin perhaps had something to do with avoiding the notoriety of drug allegations.
Another notable mention is former Broncos, Western Reds and Souths journeyman Julian O’Neill, who despite being known generally for all the wrong reasons in league circles and beyond (just ask Jeremy Schloss), he had the audacity to join English Super League where someone shared his exact name. Hence Jules O’Neill was born.
And then there’s the name change record of those with the unfortunate pleasure of having the last name Hunt. Step forward Michael De Vere.
Anyone else with a good name change story?
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