Raiders hand down hefty suspension to Wighton
CANBERRA have suspended fullback Jack Wighton for four more games over assault charges, but will still have to wait until later this week to see if the NRL dish out a harsher penalty.
The Raiders confirmed on Monday that Wighton would miss another month of football - with his six-week suspension backdated to include the two games he's already missed - after pleading guilty to assault charges in ACT Magistrates Court last month.
But that decision is yet to be ratified by the NRL, who will consider the Raiders' punishment before considering whether to impose a stronger penalty.
"Jack has already taken some positive steps in this process and we will continue to ensure he's doing everything he can to continue in this direction," Raiders chairman Allan Hawke said.
"We don't condone Jack's actions and we've been transparent and up front during this whole process.
"Our club has taken a strong stance on issues like this in the past and our track record on dealing with player behaviour is on the public record."
Canberra said Wighton has already made moves to engage with the victims of the February incident, for which he will be sentenced in November for charges that include two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
However it will still have to pass through the NRL's integrity unit, which is expected to make its call later this week ahead of the Raiders' home clash with North Queensland.
"The NRL has not ratified that decision," an NRL spokesman said.
"We are continuing to review the case before making a final determination."
The Raiders' faint final hopes took another hit on Monday, with Kangaroos prop Shannon Boyd sidelined for up to three weeks with a calf injury suffered in their come-from-behind win over Canterbury.
Second-rower Joseph Tapine will also miss the game and the following one against Cronulla if he fails to beat a dangerous contact charge at the judiciary on Tuesday night, while stand-in fullback Brad Abbey has been ruled out with concussion.
Abbey's absence could prompt a backline reshuffle if Jordan Rapana recovers from a hamstring injury to return on the wing, with Nick Cotric then expected to move to No.1.
"If I have to do that role for the team I'm more than happy," Cotric said.
"I've only have the one game there, so I've got a bit to learn in that position because I haven't trained too much."
Alternatively if Rapana is unavailable Blake Austin would move to the back, having been the Raiders' best despite playing just 16 minutes against the Bulldogs after being dropped to the bench.
Canberra remain six points out of the top eight and would realistically need to win up to six of their last eight to play finals football.
However their run home includes games against the likes of Cronulla, Melbourne, Penrith, the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney and Warriors - all teams currently in the top eight.