|Full name||Christopher Heighington|
|Born||14 January 1982|
Camden, New South Wales, Australia
|Height||187 cm (6 ft 2 in)|
|Weight||103 kg (16 st 3 lb)|
|Position||Lock, Second-row, Prop|
Christopher Heighington (born 14 January 1982) is a former professional rugby league footballer. An English international, Country New South Wales and NRL All Stars representative, his positions were lock, second-row and prop. He played for the Wests Tigers and Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, winning a premiership with each, before finishing his career with the Newcastle Knights.
He was born in Camden, New South Wales, Australia.
A Umina Bunnies junior, Heighington made his début for Wests Tigers in 2003. He later said, "To be honest, I couldn't believe I was making my début. It was a great experience. It came so quickly. I only started the pre-season at the end of 2002." He made seven appearances from the bench that year, and was a backup again in 2004. By 2005 he had cemented his place in the team and played from the interchange bench in the Tigers' 30–16 victory in the 2005 NRL grand final over the North Queensland Cowboys. Following the grand final victory, Heighington was interviewed by Channel 9 sideline commentator Matthew Johns. Johns asked Heighington to describe the feeling of winning the premiership. Heighington replied “Yeah mate it’s fucking awesome, you don’t know how to fucking ... there’s no words for it, it’s just fucking unbelievable". In the following days, the Wests Tigers club issued a statement apologising for the inappropriate language used by some of their players.
Heighington won the award for Wests Tigers' Player of the Year for 2008. He was selected to play in the 2008 Country Origin side as well as the Prime Minister's XIII team which visited Papua New Guinea. He was called into the 2009 Prime Minister's XIII for the injured Luke Lewis.
Before the start of the 2011 season, Ricky Stuart named Heighington in a "Blues in Waiting" squad, for potential future NSW State of Origin players. He was described as one of the players, "on the cusp of selection." He was considered by some unlucky to have not played State of Origin.
Having played in every game of the 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011 seasons, Heighington set the record for most appearances by a Wests Tigers player in 2012, surpassing the milestone of 185 set by John Skandalis. Described by team-mate Benji Marshall as, "the heart and soul of Wests Tigers on and off the field," the club controversially released him after failing to make the semi-finals in 2012.
Signing a three-year contract with the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Heighington said, "'I don't know what to say except I'm a bit disappointed. I thought I would be a one-team player but, at the end of the day, if the coach doesn't want you, he doesn't want you."
In Round 1 of the 2013 NRL season, Heighington made his club début for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks against the Gold Coast Titans playing off the interchange bench in the 12-10 win at Remondis Stadium. He played in all of the Sharks 26 matches and scored 1 try.
In an effort to motivate his 2016 Sharks teammates to win their first premiership, Heighington bet them his foreskin: he promised to subject himself to being circumcised if his team won.
In 2016, he came off the bench in Cronulla's first premiership win 14-12 over the Melbourne Storm for his second premiership victory.
Heighington played his 300th game on 1 April 2017, saying, "It’s hard to believe I’m on the same list of 300-game players as him. To see my name alongside Brad Fittler, Darren Lockyer, Terry Lamb, Andrew Ettinghausen, and many more, I’m just so grateful." As of April 2017, Heighington was one of only three current NRL players to have eclipsed 300 NRL games, the others being Melbourne's Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith.
On 31 July 2018, Heighington announced that the 2018 season would be his last after a 16-season career. He has played over 330 professional games with 3 clubs, winning a premiership with the Tigers in 2005, and the Sharks in 2016.
- First Grade début: 2003 – Round 1, Wests Tigers v St George Illawarra Dragons, Stadium Australia, Sydney, 15 March.
- Premierships: 2005 – Wests Tigers defeated North Queensland Cowboys 30 – 16 in the Grand Final at Stadium Australia, Sydney, 2 October.
- Premierships: 2016 - Cronulla Sharks defeated Melbourne Storm 14 - 12 in the Grand Final at Stadium Australia, Sydney, 2 October.
- NSW Country Origin début: 2008 – NSW Country Origin v NSW City Origin, WIN Stadium, Wollongong, New South Wales, 2 May.
- NSW Country Origin Selection: 2008, 2011
- Prime Minister's XIII début: 2008 – Prime Minister's XIII v Papua New Guinea, Lloyd Robson Oval, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 27 September.
- Prime Minister's XIII Selection: 2008–2009
- 300 First Grade Games round 5 2017
Heighington has a British passport through his father, and was eligible to represent England if he chose to (Heighington's father Tom emigrated to Australia when he was about 15 from County Durham, an area the family have retained strong links with, including their association with the village of Heighington near Darlington). Heighington took up the option in 2011 and was named in the England train-on squad for the 2011 Four-Nations. Coach Steve McNamara noting, "His work-rate and work ethic are first class." Heighington played in the warm up test against France and also the opening game of the Four Nations against Wales. He scored his first international try against Wales after Gareth Widdop put him over the line. Heighington played in all the preliminary games of the Four Nations, scoring a further try, but was ruled out of participating in the final.
- "League Central". Retrieved 12 October 2017.
- "Statistics at rugbyleagueproject.org". rugbyleagueproject.org. 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- "England Statistics at englandrl.co.uk". englandrl.co.uk. 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- Andrew Parkinson. "Sharks' quiet achiever Chris Heighington prepares for 300th NRL game". Canberra Times.
- "Matty Johns relives the infamous aftermath of the 2005 Grand Final". news.com.au.
- "Tigers apologise for bad language". Sydney Morning Herald.
- Chris Karas (8 October 2008). "Sports News". The Weekly Times. Archived from the original on 2 October 2009. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
- Wayne Cousins. "Players all okay after big win". www.tigers.org.au. Archived from the original on 5 January 2009. Retrieved 20 February 2009.
- "St George Illawarra five-eighth Jamie Soward called up for Country". Fox Sports. 4 May 2009. Archived from the original on 31 July 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2009.
- "Stuart names 'Blues in waiting'". ABC News. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
- "Heighington channels Tiger great Pearce". ABC News. 21 September 2010. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
- Glenn Jackson (26 March 2012). "Terry towels up stuttering Tigers as Raiding party rules the west". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- Glenn Jackson (21 June 2010). "Heighington may play for England". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- Daniel Lane (23 September 2012). "Heighington speaks out". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- Di Lonardo, Michael (24 August 2017). "Maloney reveals Heighington's unspoken, outrageous grand final bet". Sporting News. Archived from the original on 11 November 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
- David Riccio. "Chris Heighington celebrates 300 NRL matches with Tigers, Sharks". Courier Mail.
- "Newcastle Knights sign Chris Heighington - Zero Tackle". 12 October 2017. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
- "Late mail: Knights v Manly". 9 March 2018. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
- "Heighington to hang up the boots at seasons end - Zero Tackle". 31 July 2018. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
- Chris Heighington to play for England| thetelegraph.com.au. Dailytelegraph.com.au (16 July 2010). Retrieved on 24 September 2011.
- Heighington turns back on Poms to chase blue jersey. Watoday.com.au (27 January 2011). Retrieved on 24 September 2011.
- "Wests Tigers lock Chris Heighington selected in England squad and set for Four Nations campaign". Fox Sports. 19 September 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
- James Hooper (20 November 2011). "The Kangaroos have sent Darren Lockyer out on a high note after big win in Four Nations". Sunday Telegraph (Sydney). Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- "England rugby league World Cup squad revealed - and James Roby is back in the fold". Mirror. 9 October 2017. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
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