Canberra Raiders star five-eighth Jack Wighton is reportedly set to test the open market.
Wighton, who played for the New South Wales Blues and Australian Kangaroos at State of Origin and the Rugby League World Cup respectively last year, has a player option in his favour for next season.
That means he could leave the Raiders at the end of this year, where he is contracted for a reported figure of around $900,000 per season.
While Wighton has been able to freely negotiate and sign with rival clubs since November 1 last year along with every other off-contract player at the end of 2023 (or those with player options for 2024), his situation has, for the most part, kept quiet with media attention diverted in the direction of Mitchell Moses.
It was reported late last week that Moses has secured his future, electing to re-sign with the Parramatta Eels until at least the end of 2028, although that is yet to be made official by the club.
Both The Canberra Times and Sydney Morning Herald are reporting that Wighton will test his value on the open market.
The one-club player, who has more than 200 appearances under his belt for the Raiders since his 2012 debut, has played ten State of Origins and seven Tests for Australia.
While it would be an enormous blow for the Raiders to lose the Orange-born veteran, club CEO Don Furner told The Sydney Morning Herald that they are still confident in keeping the five-eighth, who has previously suggested he could want to finish his career in Canberra.
“We would love to see Jack finish as a one-club player and that's certainly our aim,” Furner told the publication.
“We're fully prepared for this situation and he certainly deserves the chance to look around. Jack came across to Canberra as a 15- or 16-year-old.
“He's been with us for 14 years and been loyal to our club, he's never been shopped around, just always came back and signed up. This is possibly his last contract, he's got a young family to think of and we fully support that.
“That said, we'll do everything to keep him too. We'll allow that process to happen and then continue talks. The timing is alright and it's not an unusual thing with modern-day players."
Wighton will likely enter his last contract with a contract extension, and like both Cameron Munster and Mitchell Moses who signed earlier this year to remain with their current clubs, both contract length for job security and the chance of winning a breakthrough premiership, could weigh heavily on Wighton.
While he has played Origin and international football, Wighton has never won a premiership, with the closest opportunity coming in 2019 when the Raiders ultimately came up short in the grand final against the Sydney Roosters.
A former Dally M Medalist, Wighton may well be the best player left on the open market following the securing of Moses, and that will likely mean plenty of clubs could come to the party with an offer for the five-eighth.