Raiders fuming after NRL extends Wighton’s ban to 10 weeks

EXTENDED BAN: Jack Wighton, pictured in round 15, was handed a 10-week ban by the NRL on Friday afternoon. Photo: AAP
EXTENDED BAN: Jack Wighton, pictured in round 15, was handed a 10-week ban by the NRL on Friday afternoon. Photo: AAP

The NRL handed Orange’s Jack Wighton a 10-game ban and $30,000 fine on Friday afternoon, after the Canberra Raiders fullback pleaded guilty to assault charges from an incident in Canberra in February.

Canberra had initially imposed a six-week ban on their custodian however the NRL came in over the top and extended the suspension by an extra month, adding the fine on top as well, after CEO Todd Greenberg said Wighton’s actions warranted a heftier punishment.

Wighton hasn’t played the last two games and has five days to respond to the NRL’s proposed sanction, which would leave him sidelined until round 25.

After the sanction was handed down, the Raiders released a statement to express their obvious displeasure with the decision.

"After reviewing all of the facts surrounding this incident we firmly stand by our decision and the punishment handed down by the club," Canberra chairman Allan Hawke said.

"We're disappointed to learn the NRL does not agree with this punishment and feel they have to come over the top and add a further four weeks and a monetary fine to the penalty.

"This penalty is excessive, as Jack still has to face further penalties imposed by the ACT Magistrate and Galambany Courts. We are perplexed as to why the NRL felt the need to impose further punishment before this process was concluded and it sets an extraordinary precedent to the way matters are handled by clubs in the future.

"In light of this, it appears clubs don't really have a role in imposing penalties on their own employees, so perhaps it's time for the NRL and its Integrity Unit to decide these matters, so that there will be a consistent approach for future offences.

"We will continue to support Jack in his rehabilitation."

The Raiders play North Queensland on Saturday night.

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