He's one of NSW coach Laurie Daley's "Baby Blues", and Canberra Raiders centre Jack Wighton says he's "over the moon" at the prospect of fatherhood this year as well as a State of Origin future.
Wighton was "stoked" to be invited to train with the Blues this week as they prepare to try to end a nine-year Origin drought, a sign the 21-year-old is on the cusp of leading the next generation for NSW.
Seemingly weighed down by the pressure of wearing the famous Raiders No.6 jersey earlier this season, Wighton is much more at ease with his switch back to the centres and said he was thrilled by the prospect of taking on more responsibility – including becoming a father.
Wighton and partner Monisha are expecting their first child in November. Wighton also began a carpentry apprenticeship this month, adding more stability to what has been a whirlwind start to his career.
"I'm definitely taking on more responsibility, I'm looking to the future with my apprenticeship and my footy," Wighton said.
"With a baby coming, it's going to be massive step forward and I'm really looking forward to it.
"I'm over the moon at the moment, getting in camp with the Blues is just a massive way to top things off.
"There are some massive things going on [in my life]. Even though I'm not playing [for NSW], it's still great to be recognised and I didn't see it coming."
Wighton has only played 40 NRL games, but was on the verge of NSW selection for game two, which could wrap up a first series win for the Blues since 2005.
Daley instead chose experience, picking Wighton's former teammate Josh Dugan in the centres and Parramatta's Will Hopoate on the wing. Wighton is rooming with the pair at the NSW camp in Coffs Harbour.
Wighton and Cronulla's Wade Graham joined Daley's squad with the sole purpose of gaining experience.
The two-time NSW Country Origin representative said he was happy to just soak up the experience, but would not be overawed if called on in the future.
"Just being around the talent that's in camp is an unreal experience, we've only had one training run but it's already great and I'm already learning," Wighton said.
"This is a childhood dream, something every footballer aims for. Even though I'm not actually playing, I still got a nervous feeling when Loz [Daley] called me.
"I'm just in here to get experience, see how things work and then hopefully use that in the future."
Wighton may not get to experience the full Origin camp, with the Raiders to return to training on Sunday in preparation to play the Bulldogs at Canberra Stadium next Friday night – 48 hours after the Origin blockbuster in Sydney.
Wighton had earlier laughed off suggestions he was on the selection radar for the Blues, given his positional struggles for the Raiders early in the season and the team's form.
The Raiders have won four of their 13 games and are 14th on the ladder. Their latest defeat was a disappointing 28-4 loss to the Brisbane Broncos on Monday night.
But Wighton, who was one of Canberra's first re-signings under coach Ricky Stuart, backed the club to keep fighting and said the mood in camp was vibrant.
"[The NSW call-up] was just a big shock really. I don't know what to say really, I'm just stoked," Wighton said.
"I feel like [Stuart] has got a good plan in place in Canberra.
"We know things aren't going great on the field at the moment and everyone's working to be better.
"I'm just taking each thing as it comes ... I'm excited about what we're doing and it's just a matter of getting it going on the field."