Steve Walters has compared Jack Wighton to Laurie Daley.
Steve Walters has compared Jack Wighton to Laurie Daley.

Wighton humbled by Raiders legend’s Daley comparisons

THERE'S an awfully long way to go but Jack Wighton is on the right path toward emulating Canberra legend Laurie Daley, believes three-time Raiders premiership winner Steve Walters.

Wighton's move from fullback to five-eighth this season has proven a masterstroke by coach Ricky Stuart, a key factor as the Green Machine prepare to contest their first grand final since 1994.

Former halfback Stuart played in four grand finals alongside Daley between 1989 and 1994 and has said Wighton is "the closest thing to Laurie Daley outside of Laurie's sisters".

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Big, strong, fast and skilful, the comparisons with former Canberra, NSW and Australian utility Daley are easy to understand.

Walters also played in those previous Raiders' grand finals and has been a big fan of Wighton's breakout 2019 form, which earned him a State of Origin debut for NSW.

"He gives them that different dimension around the halves that makes the opposition think," Walters told AAP.

"If there's not much pressure inside then you can put the pressure on outside (but) you can be caught in two minds and that's where those skilful players can feed it out for a while and then take the pressure off and go themselves.

"It just gives you greater options."

Laurie Daley in action for the Raiders in 1994.
Laurie Daley in action for the Raiders in 1994.

Walters believes Wighton would be modelling his game on Daley.

"Growing up Laurie was one of my heroes and idols so those comparisons are obviously difficult," Walters said.

"Laurie is one of the all-time greats and Jack, his progression this year has been fantastic and I'm sure in years to come (he could get there).

 

"I'm sure he'd set his own sights on aspiring to the famous No.6 style and jersey and type of player that Laurie was."

Wighton admitted the comparisons were humbling but he preferred to avoid them.

"Laurie was a legend of the game and still is a legend of the game. I'm Jack Wighton, I just do me and don't really listen to it," Wighton said.

Jack Wighton poses with the NRL premiership trophy.
Jack Wighton poses with the NRL premiership trophy.

"It's humbling hearing people say that but it's a big call."

Wighton's teammates have praised the 26-year-old all season and his halves partner Aidan Sezer believes a Kangaroos call-up is imminent.

"I don't think he will (get picked), I know he will," Sezer said.

"Jacko is a footballer and I always knew his transition into the halves would be seamless.

"He's played career-best footy this year and he's been breath of fresh air for myself playing beside him."

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