The Roar
The Roar


'I see what it means to be at a big club now': How Wighton's baptism of fire at Souths can fire him forward

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30th March, 2024

Jack Wighton might have thought that he had seen it all.

10 Origin appearances, a World Cup winners medal with Kangaroos, a Dally M Medal and a Clive Churchill Medal will do that.

But, according to the man himself, the start of his South Sydney career has been unlike anything else in his career.

He watched on from the sidelines as his team lost their first two games, then copped a battering in his debut from the club’s greatest rivals, the Roosters. It was, then, a relief to finally get on the board for 2024 with Good Friday’s win over the Bulldogs.

“There was a lot going on,” he admitted.

“I suppose I see what it means to be at a big club like the Souths now. There’s a lot of noise for the first two or three rounds and the pressure is there but it was good to get the two.

“Canberra’s got a lot of beautiful history, but Souths is the oldest club in the NRL and it is based in the middle of Sydney, and in the middle of the biggest rugby league supporters in Australia, where we’re based, so that comes with the territory, that type of pressure to perform.


“To be honest, I deleted Instagram off my phone at the beginning of this week so I don’t even know what is going on.

“You’ve got to surround yourself with positive thoughts and positive people, and that’s not where I was at this week, so I just did that.”

That pressure was doubled on Jason Demetriou, with Wighton emphasising his solidarity with the coach.

“I feel for him,” he said.

“I’ve been here only recenrtly and and he’s a great bloke and a great coach. What he’s copping he don’t deserve so to get the win for ourselves, but definitely him is huge.

“There was no lack of effort, anybody who says there was a lack of effort, I think, that was just wrong. There was a lot of effort, it just wasn’t effort together, and those small areas led to our losses.


“But take a breath, let’s work together and we got there. It wasn’t perfect, we are trying to be a bit better each week, and there’s still going be a few downhills but as long as we keep bouncing back like that.

Wighton himself scored twice and put in a good performance, which was a further response to pressure given his own disappointment with his showing on debut last week.

“It’s the best feeling, take away the tries, to get a win with these boys,” he said.

“We’ve been trying so hard. We’ve got a great team that’s been in the wars a little bit, it’s been backs against the wall, so to get them two points is just a great feeling next to these boys and just a relief too.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 29: Max King of the Bulldogs makes a break during the round four NRL match between South Sydney Rabbitohs and Canterbury Bulldogs at Accor Stadium, on March 29, 2024, in Sydney, Australia.

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

“I think the negative is we give them (Canterbury) a lot of them, and the positive is we stopped them so we will take that.

“It’s getting there. I was a bit embarrassed last week. I had a few bad errors early in the game, just purely because I was too excited, and then this week, I just took a deep breath, as now I’ve got this feeling so I was happy.”


With a win on the board, Wighton wanted to take that momentum from the last week into the training to come ahead of the Bunnies’ clash with the Warriors next Saturday afternoon.

“It’s all about getting to training, reassessing what we’ve done wrong again and being a little bit better,” said the NSW rep.

“That was our goal this week; to be a little bit better than last week, we were a little bit better and we got the two points so we’ll take it.

“It wasn’t perfect, we’ve got to fix a few more things up and through the year, and that’s what we’re looking to do.