Jack Wighton ruled out of Origin, Covid, NSW Blues vs Queensland Maroons, Latrell Mitchell, State of Origin

NSW have dealt a blow with Jack Wighton excluded from Origin with Covid opening the door for Latrell Mitchell to receive a shock call for the must-see clash in Perth.

Wighton has tested positive for Covid and will miss the Raiders’ clash with the Knights and, more importantly, Origin II for NSW.

“Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Knights due to COVID protocols,” the Raiders said in a statement.

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

Wighton’s unavailability will only add to speculation that Fittler will send an SOS to Latrell Mitchell despite his long layoff due to injury and Covid itself.

Wighton was the Blues’ best player in Origin I after Fittler’s decision to remove him from his position was heavily criticised.

Center partner Kotoni Staggs was injured on his Origin debut, while bench utility Stephen Crichton struggled after replacing the Broncos star.

Mitchell was dropped from Round 15, with South Sydney saying it would be unfair to pick him after not playing since April 9.

However, Blues assistant Greg Alexander left the door open, saying it would be up to Fittler to call Mitchell to assess his availability.

However, Michael Ennis would go with the Bulldogs five-eighth and 2021 Dally M center of the year in Matt Burton.

“It’s a blow,” Ennis said.

Jack Wighton will miss Origin II due to Covid.Source: Getty Images

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“He was undoubtedly one of the best in NSW. He scored the opening try for them, but just his ability to carry the foot and the aggression and the intent he showed for NSW.

“They have several options. They have a lot of guys who can fill those positions. But it’s going to take a hell of an effort to replace what Jack produced.

“I like the look of Matt Burton. He had combinations with Jarome Luai and Brian To’o on that left side.

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“You have Kotoni Staggs who was perhaps going to be left out given he left the opener with a sore shoulder.

“It looked like Stephen Crichton could have taken that centre-right position. Staggs might get another chance.

“Crichton can play center left or right. The other is Siosifa Talakai, who has been in devastating form for the Cronulla Sharks.

“But I think Matt Burton could be the one.”

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