Wighton not the Messiah for ‘dumb’ Rabbitohs: Demetriou

Joel Gould |

Former Canberra star Jack Wighton will be rushed into the South Sydney side for his club debut.
Former Canberra star Jack Wighton will be rushed into the South Sydney side for his club debut.

Jack Wighton will play his first game for South Sydney next week but coach Jason Demetriou has warned the prized recruit will not be the saviour unless the team makes big changes.

Wighton, lured from Canberra, served the final week of a three-match suspension as the Rabbitohs lost 28-18 to Brisbane on Thursday night in a performance Demetriou aptly labelled “a horror show”.

Wighton is set to line up in the centres against the Sydney Roosters where the Rabbitohs hope he will provide the composure and direction the side needs.

Souths had a completion rate of 58 per cent against the Broncos and made 16 errors, many of them of the schoolboy variety.

It was a virtual comedy of errors but Demetriou found nothing to laugh about.

The worst was losing possession to the Broncos while feeding the scrum when a lazy South Sydney boot kicked the ball back generously to the hosts.

Demetriou not happy
Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou lambasted his side’s errors against the Broncos. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

Not far behind was when half Lachlan Ilias kicked the ball into his own teammate Tallis Duncan for a penalty.

Demetriou has been without Wighton to start the season, and will continue to miss injured centre Campbell Graham for an extended period.

Wighton’s availability from now on will be a boost. The 31-year-old has played 242 NRL games, 10 State of Origin matches for NSW and won the 2022 World Cup with Australia while playing centre.

“It is going to be his first game of the year and we are excited to have him make his debut for the club,” Demetriou said.

“He gives us experience on the edges and some physicality as well so he will be a big ‘in’ for us.

“But we have to tidy up the dumb things we did tonight, get rid of the dumb stuff … otherwise Jack will be doing what the rest of them were tonight and that’s tackling.”

The Rabbitohs showed resilience on their tryline and had promising moments with the ball after halftime when bench utility Siliva Havili scored a try and created one, but overall it was sub-standard.

“It was a horror show of really little things that kept putting pressure on ourselves,” Demetriou said

“I said to them (in the sheds) if we bottle that effort and desire and tidy up the effort stuff we will see how good this footy team is.”

Demetriou said the issues were down to a lack of concentration, which led to fatigue.

The Rabbitohs have now lost their opening two matches of the season and must lift for their arch enemies next Friday night at Allianz Stadium.