Jack Wighton calls out 'disgusting' act amid backlash over South Sydney move

The World Cup winner is leaving Canberra to join the Rabbitohs in 2024.

Jack Wighton, pictured here with Latrell Mitchell.
Jack Wighton is joining Latrell Mitchell at South Sydney. Image: Getty

Jack Wighton has taken to social media to expose some of the horrific racial abuse he has received in the wake of his decision to leave the Canberra Raiders and join South Sydney. The Rabbitohs confirmed on Wednesday that Wighton will be joining the club in 2024 on a four-year deal.

The World Cup winner reportedly turned down more lucrative offers from the Raiders and Dolphins, and will be taking about a $1 million pay cut in the hopes of winning a premiership at Souths. But the saga took a nasty twist on Wednesday evening when Wighton revealed how he'd been racially abused by an online troll.

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Sharing a screenshot of the troll's comments, Wighton wrote: "Stooping low here. For what reason little coward."

The troll had sent direct messages to Wighton saying: "F**k off now you weak gutted dog", as well as a racial slur.

The incident is the latest example of NRL players being racially abused, after South Sydney fullback Latrell Mitchell was targeted at half-time during a game against Penrith earlier this season. Wighton and Mitchell are great mates and teamed up to help Australia win the World Cup last year.

Social media users were quick to condemn the troll's 'disgusting' and 'pathetic' actions, while NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said they would take action. “It’s absolutely abhorrent that we have people that talk to anyone in that way, whether they are a footballer or a member of the public,” Abdo said. “The integrity unit will now investigate to try to track down the person and take the appropriate action.”

Jack Wighton, pictured here receiving racial abuse from a troll online.
Jack Wighton received racial abuse from a troll online. Image: Instagram

Ricky Stuart lashes out at 'flawed' NRL contract system

Earlier on Wednesday, Raiders coach Ricky Stuart released a statement expressing his hurt that Wighton was leaving, and calling on the NRL to change its 'flawed' contract system. "I want to reassure you all that the club did everything possible to keep Jack at the Raiders and we wanted nothing more than to see him reach 300 games and become a one-club player," Stuart said in a statement addressed to fans.

"I want to let our loyal members and fans know that I bleed green as much as you do, and as much as it hurts today, our future is still ahead of us, and we will continue on the path we best see fit to give this club the success it deserves. I personally won't rest in my drive to make this club successful for you."

Wighton reportedly rejected a $4.4 million offer to stay at the Raiders, taking less money in the hopes of more success at the Rabbitohs. That led to Raiders officials reportedly lodging a formal complaint to the NRL, asking the league to ensure third-party arrangements are not making up the difference.

Jack Wighton, pictured here in action for the Canberra Raiders.
Jack Wighton in action for the Canberra Raiders. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said the salary cap auditor would run the rule over Wighton's deal to ensure it was all above board. "When the salary cap auditor receives it they'll do what they do for every contract, which is check it against the cap, check it for market reasonability and then provide any feedback if there needs to be an adjustment," he told AAP.

But Stuart took more exception to the timing of the negotiations, saying he believes holding contract talks and seeing a player announce a move mid-season was "flawed". "It is not fair to (the fans) who I see as our major stakeholders, the club, and as importantly the players," he said.

"I know it would have been hard for you, our Raiders fans, because I know what the feeling was like for me, to see an image of Jack in a (digitally-altered Souths jersey) on the back page of a Sydney paper today."

Rabbitohs hooker Damien Cook said he was delighted that Wighton is joining the club. "(We could) move a few boys around the back line there, which is obviously a hard one at the moment too, because both our centres (Isaiah Tass and Campbell Graham) are playing really good football," he told Sky Radio.

"We all believe we can win the comp ... for him to pick us and say that's where he thinks is his best chance, knowing a lot of clubs would have been after him, that's a massive hit of confidence for us as a team."

with AAP

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