The Canberra Raiders have been left “perplexed” by the NRL’s decision to tack an extra four weeks and $30,000 fine onto a club-imposed sanction for Jack Wighton.
Late last month, Wighton pleaded guilty to multiple counts of assault and a public urination charge over an incident outside a Canberra nightclub in February.
On Monday, the club decided to suspend the full-back for six weeks, but the league still had the right to add further punishment if need be.
After viewing the CCTV footage of the incident, NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said it would “warrant a stronger action”.
On Friday, the Raiders found out just what that action would be and they were none too pleased to be without Wighton for the rest of the season, unless they make an improbable finals run.
Club chairman Allan Hawke said the Raiders stood by their initial punishment.
“We’re disappointed to learn the NRL does not agree with this punishment and feel they have to come over the top and add a further four weeks and a monetary fine to the penalty,” he said.
“This penalty is excessive, as Jack still has to face further penalties imposed by the ACT magistrate and Galambany courts.
“We are perplexed as to why the NRL felt the need to impose further punishment before this process was concluded and it sets an extraordinary precedent to the way matters are handled by clubs in the future.
“In light of this, it appears clubs don’t really have a role in imposing penalties on their own employees, so perhaps it’s time for the NRL and its integrity unit to decide these matters, so that there will be a consistent approach for future offences.”