Jack Wighton has not watched a replay of the heart-breaking grand final - and probably never will - and his decision to baulk at a 2021 option in his favour to remain in Canberra was more to do with a change in managers rather than his love for the Green Machine.
No Kangaroos players was happier nor more popular than Wighton during a signing session with the Kiama locals after training on Monday afternoon.
And while Wighton can not wait to make his green and gold debut on Friday against New Zealand, he said the grand final heartbreak would forever haunt him.
The 26-year-old also told the Sydney Morning Herald why he had held off taking up an option for 2021 that is worth around a staggering $900,000.
"I'm 100 per cent there for next year, and the option for the following year in my favour was signed under my old management, and that's the only reason I haven't taken it up,'' Wighton said.
"That's all it is. I love Canberra. It's the place I call home. Sometimes I forget where I come from and say 'Canberra' rather than 'Orange'. I love the place, the community, the fans and the club.''
When pointed out it would be a bigger shock to see him exit the Raiders, especially because they stuck by him after his wild night out last year, Wighton said: "I think you're thinking right. I'm not looking for anything special. I'm looking for longevity for my family and to really make Canberra home. I'd love something long term.''
Wighton not only proved an instant success at five-eighth, he played his way into his first Origin series, won the Clive Churchill Medal, despite the Raiders' controversial 14-8 loss to the Sydney Roosters, and now about to star that right centre for the Kangaroos.
"The grand final is something that will always haunt you,'' Wighton said.
"You very rarely get those chances and to be so close yet so far will haunt you. I haven't watched it once, and I don't think I will watch it. It's done. I know if you can't get up for an Aussie jersey you shouldn't be here. I'm buzzing. I'm walking through the streets of Kiama in the green and gold and it's the best feeling.''
Wighton shrugged off the post-match dramas surrounding the Clive Churchill and whether it was meant for Roosters and Kiwis prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves. Darren Lockyer, one of three judges, was later entering his vote. Few will begrudge Wighton for collecting the gong.
"And I didn't pick it, I received it, people will have their opinions, I was numb after losing but to get that honour I was grateful,'' he said.
Wighton, who is know referred to as ''Clive'' by some cheeky Kangaroos teammates, said he would reflect on the amazing 2019 once the Kiwis Test and Saturday week's clash against Tonga was over. He plans on an annual camping trip and some quality time with his family.
His Kangaroos debut at WIN Stadium is extra special, he says, because Raiders teammates Josh Papalii and Nick Cotric, who will play outside Wighton, are along for the ride.
"Papa came up to me when we got in and said, 'I don't think I've ever played [for Australia] alongside a Canberra teammate', and that really sunk in for me when he said that,'' Wighton said.
Australian back-rower Tyson Frizell, who played with Wighton for the Blues this season, said of the debutant: "He was a massive part of why Canberra went all the way to the grand final. His Origin campaign was outstanding - he might have surprised a few people with how well he went in the centres - and it's taken him to another level in terms of confidence and what he can do with the ball.
"He's a very strong boy. I'm sure he's itching to pull on the green and gold and do himself and his friends and family proud."
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