Jack Wighton’s decision to head to the open market appears to have already paid off, even though he is yet to make a commitment on his future.
The Raiders have put a four-year deal worth $4.4 million on the table, providing at least a base to work from.
Irrespective of whether he re-signs with the Raiders, Wighton’s decision has extended his playing days in the NRL.
There was the possibility that if he had taken up the contract extension in his favour for 2024 and not looked to the open market, he may not have secured the offer of a four-year deal.
On the other hand, in offering a four-year deal, the Raiders have also taken a gamble.
Wighton is 30 years old and by the time he completes the proposed deal, he will be close to turning 35.
The Raiders have made the offer with their eyes wide open, with a couple of past decisions fresh in the memories of many.
Terry Campese’s six-year contract looked to be a masterstroke at first as he guided the Raiders to the second week of the finals in 2010.
Injuries, though, crippled his career for much of the remaining four years, limiting his appearance to another 44 games before he was released from the final year of his contract.
The Raiders, it would appear, are prepared to take a gamble on Wighton.
The Brumbies face a similar challenge as they contemplate re-signing veterans Nick White and James Slipper beyond this season.
The carrot for both is the British and Irish Lions’ tour of Australia in 2025.
White is 32 and Slipper is 33 years of age.
It has to be said both appear ageless and in career-best form, but the Brumbies are yet to make a move on either.
Instead, the focus has been on signing the bulk of the young players in the squad. So far, 31 players have been re-signed for next season and beyond.
Nick White concedes that the contract negotiations are a work in progress and has expressed a strong desire to stay.
Understanding the complexity, White said, “There are a lot of moving parts. I’d like to stay and play the Lions”.
It could, to a large extent, depend on Rugby Australia’s intentions as they weigh up their signing priorities.
In the case of both White and Slipper, it could be a gamble worth considering.
Both, it would appear, have plenty to offer.
Original Article published by Tim Gavel on Riotact.