Canberra Raiders fullback Jack Wighton could miss rest of season over shoulder charge

Ha… Too bad. I still feel that Ennis should have been suspended though…

Raiders fullback Jack Wighton faces a season-ending ban for his shoulder charge on Tigers back-rower Joel Edwards after the NRL sensationally charged him with a grade two offence on Monday.

The blow to Canberra’s finals campaign comes after the match review panel cleared Bulldogs forward David Klemmer and Sharks’ hooker Michael Ennis of wrongdoing in similar incidents which hinted at shoulder charges over the weekend.

The Raiders will host the Sharks in the first week of finals next weekend after they thrashed a woeful Tigers outfit 52-10 at Leichhardt Oval.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said he was not concerned Wighton would be suspended after the smashing the Tigers 52-10 on Sunday given Ennis had been cleared hours early, adding a commonsense approach was needed by the judiciary.

But the NRL took the unprecedented step of providing a detailed explanation why Wighton was facing a four-week ban on the eve of the finals and the saga threatens to shatter his premiership dreams.

If Wighton accepts an early guilty plea he will miss three games - potentially the rest of the season if the Raiders beat the Sharks in a qualifying final at GIO Stadium on Saturday. The 23-year-old will miss four games if he fights the charge at the judiciary and loses.

The Raiders will likely turn to two-game rookie Zac Santo to step up in Wighton’s absence.

The NRL said Wighton’s effort on a runaway Edwards could not be compared to Ennis’ tackle on Melbourne five-eighth Blake Green given the retiring rake had his left arm away from his body.

“We look for three key indicators when determining whether a shoulder charge has been made,” match review committee boss Michael Buettner said.

"They are: the upper arm of the defender must be tucked in to his side at contact, the defender is making no attempt to wrap in the tackle with both arms [and] there is forceful contact by the defender to any part of the body of the attacking player.

"If all three of these indicators are clearly identified in an incident then a player will be charged with a shoulder charge.

"In the case of Michael Ennis, it’s very clear that the left arm of Ennis is away from his body and not tucked into his side. So no charge was laid.

“In the Wighton incident the MRC was satisfied that all three indicators were present and so a charge has been laid.”

Wighton attracted loading for two prior offences in the last two years meaning the base penalty was increased from 350 points to 490. That will be scaled back to a three-game ban if the Raiders accept an early guilty plea.

Such a scenario would be unlikely though given the Raiders will have nothing to lose fighting the charge as Stuart’s side emerge as legitimate premiership contenders on the back of 10 straight wins.

The Raiders were confident on Sunday that Wighton would avoid punishment and captain Jarrod Croker said referee Jared Maxwell agreed the incident looked worse because both players were running at high speed.

Santo has played just one game this year when Wighton was suspended for touching a referee.

Before Wighton was charged by the judiciary, Canberra hooker Josh Hodgson said: “It would be a shame to see him miss, he’s a fantastic player and has been immense for us. He’s a massive part of our team.”

Wighton felt his head made contact with Edwards rather than his shoulder.

Joey Leilua said: “I didn’t think there was too much in it at the time. If someone that big is going to run at you … it’s a contact sport and I don’t think there was much in it.”

“Wighton felt his head made contact with Edwards rather than his shoulder”.

so its a head but he should get 8 weeks

he is an average player imo, worst in their backline

It was a head clash…shoulder charge, big deal…massive penalty when you take other incidents througout the year into account, and ennis on saturday

This BS is one reason I pretty much stopped going to games this year


It was a head clash…shoulder charge, big deal…massive penalty when you take other incidents througout the year into account, and ennis on saturday

This BS is one reason I pretty much stopped going to games this year

I totally disagree.

Wighton levelled more than one player on line break, including Moses when he set up the Aloiai try. He has a history of doing this.

I can cop an accidental shoulder when a defender wrong-footed, but Edwards is no speed machine and Wighton lined him up from some 30 m away, never going close to affecting a proper tackle with the arms.

This is exactly the kind of unnecessary collision the NRL is trying to stamp out and one of the greatest risks for serious head injury.

Wighton is a cheap-shot merchant, he does not make cover tackles, he barrels oncoming runners who are looking left, right and behind to find support.

He’s a peanut and I’m glad they are throwing the book at him, though based on experience with Ryan James, he will probably get off.

I won’t argue there isn’t a lack of consistency, but they have got this one right.

Soft decision. In fact I heard Toots Croker suggest there was bias at play in the charge. He is right.

As for Buetner…what a hopeless appointment he has turned out to be. The decisions coming out of his office are shameful.

Sanity prevailed.
The kid’s free to play.

If Ennis was free to play, then Wighton should have been as well. If the shoulder charge is illegal, they should both be spectators this weekend

He deserves 4 weeks for the stupidity of the tackle. The game is over and you go for a shot like that.

That said, if Ennis gets off then he shouldn’t have a case to answer either. As usual the MRC an judiciary are an absolute shambles. None of them are fit to run a bathtub.

How many weeks would Simona get had he made the same tackle on Hayne?

Shows you how much league is going backwards….if this was round 3 …Ennis and Wighton would be sitting on the sidelines for a few weeks, but the grub got off so I’m happy the kid got off as well

Surprise surprise he got off, what a #%#%#% joke the NRL is. Sure it probably wasn’t worth missing the rest of the season but he had to get SOMETHING surely? He lined him up from a mile away and never had any intention of tackling Edwards. Ennis’ one was just a lovetap I can understand how he escaped suspension but Wighton’s had plenty of force. Looks like shoulder charges are back in the acceptable column!
Really hope Wighton (or better still Joey Leilua) gets buried by a shoulder charge this weekend and we will see if Ricky thinks its all hunky-dory then. As long as your arm is 1mm away from your body it is fair game now apparantly! Sweet.
Charlie Gubb got 6 or 7 weeks for his shoulder charge that MISSED a few months back so it is great to see the brilliant consistency in the NRL continue. Wighton had 2 prior similar offences too didn’t he? Unbelievable really.

So one lines up a player looking for support and hits him with shoulder at speed and with enough force to not only stop his forward progress, but send a hundred plus kilo guy hurtling sideways through the air, and it is not considered a shoulder charge. Wow, just wow.

Whether or not one likes the rule is one thing, just like the many others that are no longer policed, but in the age of awareness of concussion and strict adherence to protocols surrounding it, how on earth can such incidents be allowed to go unpunished following the introduction of a rule specifically introduced to eradicate it from the game.

It’s got me ……

It’s a farce, Gus Gould is right, whoever is responsible for this one should be publicly flogged.

It’s farcical decisions such as this that has turned my old man who is 72 away from the game and towards AFL. I asked him why the other day. He said - too many referees, too many video replays, too many wrong decisions and it’s just not what it should be anymore.
Hard to argue with that logic really.

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