If ever an NRL player was on their last chance at a club it has to be Jack Wighton.
Wighton appeared for sentencing in the Galambany Circle Sentencing Court on Wednesday (14 November) on two charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, three counts of common assault, and one charge of public urination.
He was given a two-month suspended jail term, placed on a one-year good behaviour bond and fined $3500 dollars after his wild night out in February.
The NRL’s integrity unit has already fined him $30,000 dollars and suspended for 10 games last season.
Wighton has received a greater penalty than others in the same situation with effectively a double penalty or a triple penalty if you take into account the public humiliation aspect but it shouldn’t take away from the severity of his actions.
I, like many others, found the footage of the incident disturbing as it appeared as though on several occasions Wighton had a chance to walk away.
He is lucky because it could have ended up being a lot worse. As Magistrate Bernadette Boss stated, “ a single blow can kill”.
Wighton showed remorse and apologised to his victims but I have seen this before when footballers realise the consequences of their actions in the cold hard light of day. The worrying aspect of the Wighton situation is that he was so drunk he didn’t remember what had happened and woke up with a shiner.
On the whole, I have found the majority of Raiders players to be very personable and willing to contribute to the community. Some, though, have issues when it comes to alcohol.
I witnessed it with Todd Carney, Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson.
Wighton at 25 years of age is at the crossroads in his life. He can go one of two ways: he can drink and party in Civic through to the early hours or he can take stock of his life and have a greater realisation of the consequences of his actions.
Rugby League has given Jack Wighton a great deal and now he has a chance to repay the club and the game.
It is great that he has been working with the PCYC but as he has found out the hard way, hundreds of hours of good work in the community can be overshadowed by 90 seconds of bad behaviour.