Jack Wighton hit with contrary conduct charge over ugly comment towards referee

The Canberra Raiders player is the latest to become embroiled in controversy surrounding an exchange with a referee.

Jack Wighton.
Jack Wighton told referee Peter Gough he was trying to help the Wests Tigers win. Image: Channel 9

Canberra Raiders star Jack Wighton has been charged with contrary conduct after comments to referee Peter Gough that he was trying to help the Wests Tigers. The Raiders narrowly escaped an embarrassing loss to the Tigers on Sunday, with Wighton making a try-saving tackle in the corner in the final seconds.

However the Bunker ruled that Wighton had made high contact with Starford To'a, which resulted in a penalty and one last chance for the Tigers to win it. The Raiders managed to hold on, but Wighton has landed himself in hot water as a result.

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The referee's microphone picked up Wighton saying: "You're trying hard to give this to them. You're trying hard. That was a good tackle."

Gough responded: "If you want to stay on the field, stop. It's high, it's on report, we're going to have a penalty."

Wighton managed to escape suspension, but was hit with a $3000 fine for contrary conduct. The five-eighth risks a two-game ban if he fights the charge and is found guilty.

The Wighton incident is the latest in a string of unsavoury moments between players and officials in recent weeks. Reece Walsh was slapped with a three-game ban and missed State of Origin III after he called a referee a 'c***', which he unsuccessfully claimed was directed at teammate Patrick Carrigan.

Cronulla superstar Nicho Hynes escaped charge after telling touch judge Belinda Sharpe she'd missed three calls in their loss to Manly. Roosters captain James Tedesco was also overheard swearing while remonstrating with the referee over the decision to send Nathan Brown off last Thursday night.

Tim Sheens left fuming after Tigers' loss to Raiders

Ironically, Wighton and the Raiders actually benefited from some poor refereeing against the Tigers after Gough and his touch judges missed what appeared to be a blatant forward pass before a try to Sebastian Kris. The pass appeared to go forward out of Wighton's hands and then bounced further forward, but was missed by the touch judge who had a clear view.

Tigers coach Tim Sheens said after the game: “I was pretty disappointed with a few of the decisions. I’ve got to congratulate Rick for coaching a side that didn’t give away one extra set of six, according to our statistician, so very good coaching.

“The first try I was a bit disappointed, I feel there was a forward pass in that try. There were a couple, there was one in the second half and the first try, that lead up pass, looking at it I was pretty unhappy with that so that’s something I’ll take up with the referees as I do every week."

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

It proved to be a week of major controversy just four weeks out from the NRL finals, with Dragons coach Ryan Carr also up in arms that the Bunker ruled Clint Gutherson didn't strip the ball from Jacob Liddle. The call proved extremely costly as it rubbed out a Dragons try in their 26-20 loss.

"You google 'strip' and it's hand on the ball, he strips it out. It's play on. It's a try every day of the week," Carr said. "It's ridiculous. If I say 'ridiculous', I'll probably get memed again but that's all right, that's all good.

"Maybe they (the match officials) have to come down and sit here and answer you guys (the media). I have to do a press conference, you ask me. I don't know the answer, so maybe they should come down and sit here and answer the questions for you so everyone in the whole world can understand why that wasn't a try."

with AAP

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