Jack Wighton won't feel the need to wage a war of words with fiery Queensland centre Will Chambers despite insisting his State of Origin battle will be "personal" on Sunday night.
The Raiders star will occupy the spot usually manned by Latrell Mitchell, pitting him directly against his Indigenous All Stars teammate and noted niggler Chambers.
Personal: Jack Wighton.Credit:AAP
Blues coach Brad Fittler famously told Mitchell before last year's Origin series not to take the bait and "give him nothing", a tactic Wighton would do well to follow as the Blues seek to level the series at Perth's Optus Stadium.
But when asked whether he would zip his mouth when confronted with Chambers, Wighton said: "I know I just have to do my job. I’ll just do what I do on the night.
"The whole game is personal. It’s not just the one person you’re playing, it’s between the states as everyone knows. This is all personal."
Wighton and Chambers are not foreign to each other, with the pair combining for the Indigenous All Stars in the traditional pre-season fixture. And while they have lined up against each other at NRL level previously, they haven't met with the stakes so high as they will be for the second game of the series.
The whole game is personal. It’s not just the one person you’re playing, it’s between the states as everyone knows. This is all personal
"I’ve played him in a couple of games, a few games actually," Wighton said. "He’s a fast player, but I’m ready to take him on. Off the field he’s a great fella, but that all goes out the window when we get on the field on Sunday night."
Mark Gasnier has popped into camp to help tutor Wighton and Tom Trbojevic, who has only limited experience playing in the centres. He will replace Josh Morris on a brand new right edge featuring Blake Ferguson.
Gasnier finished working with the Blues on Friday.
"I've learned a lot about what he found worked for him," Trbojevic said. "He's one of the best centres to play our game and he's got such a high footy IQ. He uses cues defensively where to be in as well as offence. He's been really helpful for me."
On Gasnier, Wighton said: "It’s great. He just reassures you and he gives you confidence ticking all those boxes. He was one of the greats for NSW and Australia. His footy knowledge is second to none and it really shows when he talks to you.
"I’ve had a couple of training sessions now and it’s all there. I’m excited. I’m just going to take it with both hands."
Trbojevic took all precautions and dived straight for the ice after the Blues finished their training session at Hale School on Friday. He's just two games back from injury, having missed eights weeks during his latest stint on the sidelines after he re-tore the muscle in round four.
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