Premiership hopefuls not getting carried away: Wighton

IN THE RUNNING: Canberra's Jack Wighton is on the run during the 2016 season. He's backing the Green Machine to do plenty of hard work again. Photo: GETTY
IN THE RUNNING: Canberra's Jack Wighton is on the run during the 2016 season. He's backing the Green Machine to do plenty of hard work again. Photo: GETTY

The Canberra Raiders are entering unfamiliar territory in 2017.

Bookmakers have installed the Raiders as a genuine premiership hopeful — in previous years Canberra has had a mortgage on the opposite end of the market.

A number of players are near certainties for representative honours, with many others considered a legitimate chance to earn a maiden State of Origin jersey.

Raiders fullback Jack Wighton said while there was an air of confidence in the nation's capital, they weren't getting caught up in the hype of the club's best season in almost two decades.

"All that stuff doesn't mean anything, though, does it," Wighton said.

"We've got to turn up and play. We lost a few games last year by big numbers also, so we've got to try and get that out of our game.

"It's a lot of hard work to get to where we were last year, so we know we've got to do all that work before we even think about feeling the way that we did at the end."

It is no secret Wighton is a confidence player. He thrives on it — his second full season in the No.1 jumper was a tale of highs and lows.

The Indigenous All Stars fullback endured a roller-coaster ride and made more errors than any other player in the competition with 41.

Midway through the season it was clear Wighton needed something to spark him again, and his saving grace came in the form of Raiders coach Ricky Stuart.

Stuart publicly backed the 23-year-old and Wighton went on to play a huge role in Canberra's charge to the preliminary final.

Wighton said his relationship with Stuart has continued to blossom and he was doing everything he could to push the Raiders closer to a drought-breaking premiership.

"He's always got all the boys' backs and backs us to the hilt," Wighton said.

"It's always good to have someone leading you like that. The start of the year is always hard. I've been working hard on all the little things, so hopefully I can go a little bit better again this year."

This story Premiership hopefuls not getting carried away: Wighton first appeared on Central Western Daily.