NRL news 2024: Billy Slater reveals ‘blessing in disguise’ as Canberra Raiders relish after Jack Wighton exit; Andrew Johns praises Ethan Strange, Jamal Fogarty interview

The departure of Jack Wighton was meant to bring the Raiders to their knees this year – but instead, the side are sitting pretty inside the NRL’s top-four.

The superstar five-eighth left the nation’s capital for seemingly greener pastures, inking a long-term deal with the Rabbitohs that so far, has led to nothing but defeat.

But back in Canberra, the performances of Wighton’s former team and the young crop of talent coming through has impressed and surprised many within rugby league land, as the likes of Ethan Strange and Chevy Stewart begin to make their mark.

READ MORE: Serious allegations led sponsors to leave Supercars team

READ MORE: ‘It’s not that hard’: Robbo fumes at Bunker calls

READ MORE: Saints explain ‘aberration’ after 60-point horror show

Speaking on Wide World Of Sports’ Billy Slater Podcast, the rugby league legend heaped praise on the rookies and believes Wighton’s shock departure could be a “blessing in disguise” long-term for the Green Machine.

“The world was ending in Canberra when Jack Wighton left last year,” Slater said.

“It was like the Canberra Raiders may as well not even turn up next year, that was the feeling around it. He is a great player – but it comes with opportunity.

“I remember when Matt Orford left the Melbourne Storm, he was a premiership-winning player and went on to win a Dally M Medal. When he decided to go on to Manly, there was a lot of talk around … all of a sudden, a bloke by the name of Cooper Cronk came in and wore the No.7 for Melbourne and he did alright.

“There’s disappointment with a player leaving … but it can be a blessing in disguise.”

Watch the 2024 NRL premiership live and free on Nine and 9Now.

The changing of the guard that Slater is alluding to at the Storm led to the side winning premierships in 2012 and 2017 with Cronk steering the ship, before the champion halfback moved to the Roosters, adding two more premiership rings to his resume.

And while the influx of youthful exuberance at the Raiders might not see them land a Provan-Summons Trophy just yet, Jamal Fogarty hopes a patient approach across the board can pay off in the years to come.

“My role has been the same as last year, but I just think our team in general is a lot more patient – we have kept it very simple,” he told Wide World Of Sports’ Freddy and The Eighth earlier this week.

“I’m doing a lot more kicking now … just to take a little bit of pressure off Ethan and let him find his feet. He’s a young kid, he has got that flair – he’s very fast too.

“Strangey is only gonna get better with the more games he plays and we need our fans to be a little bit patient with him. There’s gonna be times where he’s excellent for a couple of weeks and times where he might drop off for a little bit.

“Let them get to 50 or 60 NRL games and then start marking them off that.”

Andrew Johns was full of praise for the teenage playmaker, who inked a contract extension with Canberra this week that will see him stay put until at least 2028.

“He is tough, this young fella,” the rugby league Immortal said.

“His game is based around running, he tackles well, he supports well – for a young five-eighth or even a halfback, that’s what you’ve pretty much got to be doing.”

Canberra will take on the Broncos in a blockbuster clash on Saturday night. 

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Verve Times is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a Comment