Raiders fans haven’t been allowed to enjoy last night’s win for too long, with News reporter Paul Kent suggesting that bad news could be back on the horizon.
Appearing on Fox Sports, Kent has suggested that Raiders fullback Jack Wighton may have played his last game for the club, as a result of charges stemming from a nightclub incident in February.
“I think charges will be laid,” Kent said. “I think the NRL win stand him down for the season and the Raiders might end up sacking him.”
The idea that Wighton could be sacked may sound extreme for a player who’s hardly well known for being a troublemaker. However, when you consider the Raiders’ tight salary cap situation, it becomes a realistic possibility.
The issue is that if (and at this stage, it remains a significant “if”) the NRL do stand Wighton down for the remainder of the season, the Raiders don’t have the cap space available to replace him. So, while in the short term they could fill the role with someone like Nic Cotric (as they did in last night’s win), they’d be necessarily weakening another position to do it.
The only way they could free up the space to replace Wighton with an import then, would be to sack him.
We’d suggest that this isn’t a decision to be taken lightly, and made only if they consider themselves a serious shot at winning the competition this year; particularly if they consider Wighton to be the long term answer at the position. If they were to sack Wighton but not win the premiership (or worse still, miss the finals altogether), they’d be entering 2019 worse off than if they’d done nothing at all.
Wighton has played 121 first grade games for the Raiders since his debut in 2012.