Raiders to let Wighton play on
CANBERRA coach Ricky Stuart will be free to pick Jack Wighton in his side to face Parramatta on Saturday despite disturbing details of the nine charges levelled at the Raiders star.
Wighton will face the ACT Magistrates Court on Wednesday on charges stemming from a late-night incident outside a Canberra nightclub in the pre-season.
Stuart will name his extended 21-man squad on Tuesday afternoon, but will not be instructed by the Raiders board or the NRL to stand down his star fullback from Saturday night's match against fellow strugglers Parramatta at GIO Stadium.
Wighton will face three charges of reckless or intentionally inflicting actual bodily harm, five counts of common assault, as well as urinating in public. It is expected that the matter will be adjourned in court.
It is believed the Canberra fullback was out celebrating his 25th birthday on February 3 before the alleged incidents occurred outside a nightclub in the Canberra suburb of Civic.
Canberra, though, are sticking solid with their talented fullback. Raiders CEO Don Furner said Stuart had not been instructed to stand down Wighton.
"I don't know the answer to whether he will be picked. That decision will be completely up to the coach," Furner said.
"If Ricky wants to pick him, he can. There is no reason why he can't be picked.
"The NRL or the club won't stop him getting picked. Jack has to front court, he has due process. It's up to Ricky.
"I am not involved in team selections."
Told Stuart would almost certainly select Wighton, Furner said: "I would think so."
It is understood ACT police have CCTV footage of the incident after officers were called on the night of the fight.
Canberra immediately informed the NRL integrity unit after the incident occurred.
The Raiders and the NRL will not make a decision on whether Wighton will be sanctioned until after the court case. The NRL would risk heavy criticism by suspending Wighton given its controversial decision to allow Brisbane prop Matt Lodge back into the game this year.
Wighton missed last week's 26-10 win over Canterbury due to the birth of his second child, but resumed training this week and was seen running with his teammates on Monday.