Canberra NRL player Jack Wighton is spoken to by the referee v Knights
Jack Wighton was put on report over a biting incident against Newcastle in his final Canberra game. Image by Darren Pateman/AAP PHOTOS
  • rugby league

Wighton biting charge goes straight to NRL judiciary

George Clarke September 11, 2023

Jack Wighton will be forced to front the NRL judiciary on Tuesday, seeking to clear himself of a biting allegation that threatens his start to life as a South Sydney centre.

Wighton was hit with a dangerous contact charge on Monday after he was alleged to have bitten Newcastle five-eighth Tyson Gamble in the Raiders’ elimination final loss.

Sunday’s 30-28 defeat was Wighton’s final game for the Green Machine after more than a decade of service before he links up with Souths next season.

Wighton maintained his innocence over the 47th-minute incident, with referee Ashley Klein choosing to place the Canberra star on report rather than dismiss him.

If found guilty, Wighton could miss the start of next season for Souths, starting with their trip to face Manly in Las Vegas. 

The 30-year-old retired from representative football earlier this year, meaning he would be ineligible to serve his suspension during Australia’s end-of-season Test matches.

While the suspension would solely affect the Rabbitohs, Canberra will cover Wighton’s representation for the hearing given he is employed by them until the end of October.

The Raiders also requested the hearing be pushed back to Wednesday but after discussions with the NRL both parties have agreed Wighton will appear via videolink. 

Former Gold Coast forward Kevin Proctor was the most recent player to be suspended for biting.

He was given a four-game ban in 2020 over an incident involving then-Cronulla player Shaun Johnson.

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart called for the allegation to not overshadow Sunday’s game, while his Newcastle counterpart Adam O’Brien declined to comment after the nerve-racking final.

Gamble was keen to draw a line under the matter when asked about the incident shortly after the game.

“I want to leave that on the field. That’s footy,” the Knights back said.

“It’s done and dusted, we shook hands and (Wighton) said all the best for the rest of the finals series.

“We’ll put it to the side and move on.”

Elsewhere on Monday, the NRL’s integrity unit began discussions with Cowboys centre Valentine Holmes after a photo emerged of him holding a bag of white powder.