Ricky Stuart believes Jack Wighton is being targeted.
Ricky Stuart believes Jack Wighton is being targeted.

Ricky worried for star man Wighton

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart is concerned star five-eighth Jack Wighton is becoming a target for opposition sides to hit late after kicking this season.

Wighton missed the end of Sunday's loss to Newcastle after copping a head knock and failing his concussion check, following late contact from Sione Mata'utia.

Stuart does not believe there was any malice from Mata'utia or teammate Jacob Saifiti to hurt Wighton, but is worried about the increasing trend.

 

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He told Wighton last week to approach referees to voice his concerns on Sunday, after feeling he'd routinely been hit late in the opening three rounds.

"Jack's been getting taken out of play after he kicks quite often," Stuart said.

"It's something we spoke about this week. I asked him to go to the referees and talk about it on the field, in regards to 'do I take this into my own hands?'

"Because he's known as a very good kick chaser after he kicks, he gets pulled and tugged off the ball.

"You can't be taking kickers out of play once they kick and want to chase."

Raiders consultant Michael Ennis was also vocal over the issue in commentary, insistent it was something Wighton had copped throughout the opening rounds.

Stuart does not want to make a big deal over the issue and said he would not approach the NRL over the matter.

 

Jack Wighton leaves the field in the Raiders clash against the Knights.
Jack Wighton leaves the field in the Raiders clash against the Knights.

However, he was confident his issue would be heard by the league.

"I'm sure they will hear it, so they should be looking at it. I'm sure they will," Stuart said.

The NRL launched a crackdown on defenders attacking the legs of kickers early last season.

But Sunday's incident was nowhere near in the same realm with no play at the legs.

Instead, Wighton has been more been pulled out of play this year rather than dangerously hit.

 

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Originally published as Ricky says Raiders star Wighton is being targeted with illegal ploy



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