The NRL has made the stunning move to increase Canberra’s ‘lenient’ ban for Jack Wighton, leaving the Raiders fuming.
Canberra have slammed the NRL’s decision to overrule the Raiders’ penalty for their fullback, who has pleaded guilty to five assault charges from a night out.
The Raiders proposed a six-week ban for the 25-year-old on Monday, but the NRL deemed the penalty to be not harsh enough and has ensured Wighton won’t play again during the regular season.
Raiders chairman Allan Hawke has slammed the NRL’s treatment of the situation, calling their ban “excessive” as Wighton still faces sentencing in November.
“After reviewing all of the facts surrounding this incident we firmly stand by our decision and the punishment handed down by the club,” 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 (of $30,000) to the penalty.
“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.”
Wighton has five days to appeal the penalty.