Knights forward Heighington calls on NRL to support Tests in the US


The 36-year-old, the NRLs second-oldest current player after his former Cronulla captain Paul Gallen, said it would be “a great experience” to play a game in America, but admitted he had not yet broached the subject with Knights coach Nathan Brown.

“I was obviously born here, but Dads English, so Ive got English in there somewhere,” he said. “Im not bending any rules or anything. It gave me the opportunity to test myself at the highest level, so I took that.”

Heighingtons immediate focus is helping Newcastle bounce back to the winners circle in Tamworth on Saturday when they tackle Wests Tigers, the club with whom he launched his 16-season NRL career.

Heighington played 201 games for the Tigers, including their 2005 grand final triumph, the vast majority of them alongside mercurial five-eighth Benji Marshall.

Up for it: Heighington says he'd love to play in the States, given the opportunity.

Photo: AAP

After stints with Auckland Blues, St George Illawarra and Brisbane, Marshall has been a revelation since returning to the Tigers this season.

Ivan Clearly's side have won five of their first six games this season, and their only defeat was after a game-winning penalty goal for Brisbane in round three that NRL officials subsequently admitted should not have been awarded.

Turning back the years: Heighington is impressed with Benji Marshall's form ahead of the Knight's clash with the Tigers in Tamworth.

Photo: NRL Photos

“I played nearly 200 games with Benji, so I know him very well, and I know all his plays,” Heighington said. “Hes playing really good footy at the moment. He scored two good tries [in the 38-12 win against Manly on Sunday], so hes one of their danger men and were going to be have to be on our game to minimise his involvement.”

Newcastle have noted the Tigers defensive resolve. In their six games, Clearys rebuilt side have conceded a miserly 67 points, 14 points fewer than the next-best defensive team, premiers Melbourne.

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