Canberra NRL assistant coach Dean Pay says the club still rates Jack Wighton as a five-eighth solution despite shifting him to the centres.
At sixes and sevens over their halves, Canberra assistant coach Dean Pay admits dumped five-eighth Jack Wighton is still considered the Raiders’ solution at pivot.
Pay said the whole squad should be “on their toes” when Raiders coach Ricky Stuart cut down a 21-strong squad named for Sunday’s NRL home clash with Penrith.
But Pay claimed Wighton was still rated as a five-eighth despite being relegated to the centres after a failed nine-game halves experiment with skipper Terry Campese.
Josh McCrone moves from hooker to halfback with an out-of-sorts Campese swapping the No.7 jersey for No.6 against the Panthers following back-to-back NRL hidings that prompted speculation over Stuart’s future.
“I think the whole squad is on their toes at the moment. After the last couple of weeks so they should be,” Pay said.
“We have had some changes this week and it was due.”
Stuart dumped three players and made several positional changes but the jury was out on who would don Canberra colours with the likes of exciting halfback Mitch Cornish named on an extended bench.
“We are still in the process of making a final decision on who will actually play,” Pay said.
However, Pay said one of the few certainties was Wighton playing in the centres against Penrith but could not rule out a halves return for the playmaker.
“He will stay there (in the centres). Hopefully he will give us some more strike on that edge,” he said.
“He’s happy to go back out there.
“(But) we still think he is a six. He just needs a little bit more confidence back.”
Asked if Wighton’s switch to the centres was a long term move, Pay said: “It will pan out after this week.
“We won’t say he won’t move back there.
“We just need some confidence back and we will go from there.”
Players came out in support of Stuart on Monday after Canberra (3-6 record) conceded 108 points including 18 tries and missed 59 tackles in their last two matches.
Their woeful season start was compounded by rising superstar Anthony Milford confirming he would honour a two-year deal with Brisbane from 2015.