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Jack Wighton out State of Origin game two new south whales blues with COVID19

By Chris De Silva and Emily Patterson

New South Wales‘ hopes of holding onto the State of Origin shield have been dealt a major blow with Jack Wighton to miss game two after contracting COVID-19.

Wighton was one of the Blues’ best in the series-opener, scoring a try after starting in the centres alongside Kotoni Staggs.

“Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton has been ruled out of Sunday’s match against the Knights due to COVID protocols,” a Raiders statement read on Friday night.

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Wighton will follow COVID return to play protocols once his isolation is completed next week.”

With the second game of the series just nine days away, Blues coach Brad Fittler confirmed that Wighton would not be fit enough to play.

Despite Wighton’s impending absence, Fittler revealed that Souths star Latrell Mitchell would not come into consideration for game two.

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“Latrell is unavailable,” he said on Nine’s NRL coverage.

“Speaking to South Sydney earlier in the week, given he’d just come back from America and when he got back to Australia he had COVID-19 as well, so I believe he was pretty knocked around. He’s only had one proper session, so Latrell won’t be available.”

Stephen Crichton, who was in the team for the series-opener, could slot into Wighton’s spot in the starting line-up alongside Staggs, who has overcome a shoulder niggle.

Bulldogs star Matt Burton and Sharks flyer Siosifa Talakai could also come into the team, and Fittler admitted Talakai was on his radar.

“The beauty of Talakai is he started as a back-rower and he’s sort of a back-rower playing centre and doing a great job at it,” Fittler told Nine’s Macca’s Golden Point of Talakai’s Origin chances.

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“At the start of the season he was in the middle of the field, so we took that into consideration for the first game. So we’ll be watching him very closely.”

Fittler will name his Blues side for game two on Sunday evening, following the conclusion of the round.

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