Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has labelled Sydney Roosters fans who booed Jack Wighton when he received the Clive Churchill Medal after the NRL grand final as "wombats".
Wighton played the game of his life in the Raiders' tight 14-8 loss on Sunday, scoring Canberra's only try and looking particularly dangerous on the left edge.
His performance will likely see him in contention for his Kangaroos debut, with Mal Meninga set to announce Australia's squads on Monday morning.
Meninga was one of the three to pick the honour, alongside fellow Kangaroos selectors Darren Lockyer and Laurie Daley,
But it wasn't as well received by Roosters fans.
Angry that one of their players hadn't been named best on ground following the win, they booed Wighton onto the stage and throughout his speech at ANZ Stadium.
"The best player on the field got the award tonight," Canberra coach Stuart said.
"Whether those people out there that booed agree or not, Jack didn't pick it. Three legends of our game .. pick the award.
"And I think they know a little bit more than the wombats sitting in there beside the goal posts."
Wighton became just the fourth player to receive the medal on a losing team, after Brad Clyde in 1991, Brad McKay in 1993 and Daly Cherry-Evans in 2013.
Cherry-Evans received similar treatment from Roosters fans at the same end of ANZ Stadium under the same circumstances six years ago.
"It was a very numb feeling to achieve something so big, but it was probably the worst moment of my life to lose a grand final," Wighton said.
"It's a very weird feeling at the minute."
A year after his spot in the game was in doubt due to off-field troubles, Wighton busted five tackles, had one linebreak and regularly put centre Jarrod Croker in space.
Players on both sides agreed he was the right pick for the medal, as did Roosters coach Trent Robinson.
"Jack was incredible tonight. That guy can play footy," Robinson said.
"That's a legend player and he deserved that award.
"For individuals, I've been booed a bit this week and last week. It happens in life. It means people are passionate and they want to watch."
Australian Associated Press