|Full name||Christopher Heighington|
14 January 1982 |
Camden, New South Wales, Australia
|Height||187 cm (6 ft 2 in)|
|Weight||102 kg (16 st 1 lb)|
|Position||Lock, Second-row, Prop|
As of 19 July 2016
Chris Heighington (born 14 January 1982 in Camden, New South Wales) is an Australian professional rugby league footballer who currently plays for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks of the National Rugby League (NRL). An England international representative forward, he has also been selected to represent Country New South Wales and the NRL All Stars. He previously played with the Wests Tigers, winning the 2005 NRL Premiership with them.
A Umina Bunnies junior, Heighington made his debut for Wests Tigers in 2003. He later said, "To be honest, I couldn't believe I was making my debut. 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. As NRL Premiers Wests faced Super League champions Bradford Bulls in the 2006 World Club Challenge. Heighington played at second-row forward in the Tigers' 30–10 loss.
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.
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 in his early-20s 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.
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. He played in 20 games in 2012, and was one of the NRLs leaders in offloads, making 31 during the season.
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 debut for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks against the Gold Coast Titans playing off the interchange bench in the Sharks 12-10 win at Remondis Stadium. Heighington played in all of the Sharks 26 matches and scored 1 try for the Sharks in the 2013 season. In 2016 came of 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 is one of only three current NRL players to have eclipsed 300 NRL games, the others being Melbourne's Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith.
- First Grade Debut: 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 Debut: 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 Debut: 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
- England Test Debut: 2011 – Rugby League Four Nations Round 1, England v Wales, Leigh Sports Village, Leigh, England, 29 October.
- England Test Squad Selection: 2011
- 300 First Grade Games round 5 2017
- League Central
- Chris Heighington Rugby League Project
- Andrew Parkinson. "Sharks' quiet achiever Chris Heighington prepares for 300th NRL game". Canberra Times.
- 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. 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 (21 June 2010). "Heighington may play for England". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- 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.
- Glenn Jackson (26 March 2012). "Terry towels up stuttering Tigers as Raiding party rules the west". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- Daniel Lane (23 September 2012). "Heighington speaks out". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- David Riccio. "Chris Heighington celebrates 300 NRL matches with Tigers, Sharks". Courier Mail.