Canberra Raiders star Jack Wighton recalls wild night

The shocking footage was caught on camera and described as “disgraceful” by NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg.

Wighton later pleaded guilty in court to five counts of assault and one count of public urination. The NRL came down hard, fining him $30,000 and suspending him for 10 games.

As a result Wighton is qualified to know what Jack de Belin, Dylan Walker and now Tyrone May are all about to experience.

That trio are all stood down from the game while they face their own court hearings, although they can continue training with their respective NRL clubs.

“The toughest part is letting down your teammates,” Wighton said.

“The biggest burden for me was coming to training and looking at your mates in the eye and knowing you could do nothing to help them on the field.

“When you wake and look at yourself in the mirror, just knowing how many people you’ve upset … it’s a burden if you let it get to you.

“All the lads looked after me, even though I was the one who let them down.

“Then there is every scenario that runs through your head. I have two beautiful girls and a partner at home, and you wonder how you will go looking after them and what next steps you will take if things hit the fan.

“Another big one is the media. It’s a lot of pressure if you let it get to you.

“I won’t comment too much on the others. But they will need the right help around them and the right support. That’s how you get through this stuff.”

He said he was thankful his family stood by him.

“If I ever needed counselling I’d have counselling,” Wighton said. “My partner [Monisha] was my rock. I put her under a lot of pressure. She often got caught up in the media hype and was worried I was in more trouble than I actually was.

“There are demons you have to control. And holding everything in is not always the best thing do to.

“As the season goes on you have to stay positive.”

Wighton, now 26, is on his last chance with the Raiders. He has refused to party in Canberra’s city centre since because his drunken antics have left him with “a target on my back”.

“You have to be careful with the circumstances you put yourself in. I left myself vulnerable that night, got too drunk and that was the outcome,” he said.

“If I have a social beer now, it will be with the boys. Nothing crazy.”

It will have been 273 days between games when Wighton finally takes the field on Sunday week against Gold Coast Titans.

He will run out with the No.6 on his back after coach Ricky Stuart warmed to the idea of shifting him from fullback over the summer.

“‘Sticky’ said to me, ‘when you can, jump in as a half and fill in here and there’,” Wighton said.

“He said to me, ‘we probably won’t play you there but you’ll be an option’. As the pre-season went on it was working out alright and he said ‘we’re going to put you there’.”

It’s another opportunity Wighton is grateful he has been given.

“I’m getting older. The years are going quicker. In this game, had I been in that [nightclub] scenario yesterday, I’m out back door [of the game],” he said.

“I’m grateful to be playing with these boys and hopefully I can return the favour and look after them and support my family.”

Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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