Raiders Jack Wighton and Nick Cotric at Training at Raiders Headquarters in Canberra. Picture Kym Smith
Raiders Jack Wighton and Nick Cotric at Training at Raiders Headquarters in Canberra. Picture Kym Smith

Wighton wants another CBD ban

A fortnight from now, that contract Jack Wighton signed banning him from Canberra's CBD will be over.

But guess what?

"As soon as it's finished, I'll draw up another one," Wighton revealed. "Start over, and go again."

With good reason, too

"Coming into this year with the drama I've had," the Canberra No. 6 continued, "I knew that if I didn't play good footy, I was gone.

"So that's how I've treated things.

"That it was either going one way or the other for me.

"Do or die.

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"Play well or go out the back door.

"And that contract, it's been real good for me. Taken away a lot of issues.

"Plus the way I look at things now, I'll have years after retiring to go out in Canberra.

"So once it's up … yeah, I'll sign another one."

One the eve of his blockbuster NRL preliminary final against South Sydney, Wighton has opened up to The Daily Telegraph about doubling down on the contract which - initiated by the NSW Origin star - has kept him out of Canberra's city centre for a tick over 12 months.

Last November, the 26-year-old narrowly escaped jail after pleading guilty to several charges, including assault, which followed an alcohol-fuelled night out in February, 2018.

After the verdict was handed down, Wighton had Raiders officials draw up a document which not only banned him from the city's restaurants, bars and nightclubs, but allowed the club to immediately terminate the playmaker's $500,000-a-year deal if he strayed.

Wighton agreed to a ban from Canberra’s CBD. AAP Image/Lukas Coch.
Wighton agreed to a ban from Canberra’s CBD. AAP Image/Lukas Coch.

Yet in the year since, Wighton hasn't erred.

Not once.

Instead, the rugged leaguie from Lucknow has moved to five-eighth, earned his NSW debut, won an Origin series, been named in an Australian merit squad, and now has the Raiders just one win from the 2019 NRL grand final.

Which is something to be proud of, right?

"Well, I only had two options," Wighton said. "You either do what you've said, or you show that you were talking shit.

"And given I've got two beautiful daughters, it really was an easy decision.

"Yes, I made that initial mistake.

"But I didn't have to keep going that other way."

Which has us wondering what the star five-eighth will do about that CBD ban if Canberra go all the way to a premiership?

After all, Civic receptions usually follow such things.

Can Wighton lead the Raiders to glory? Picture by Kym Smith.
Can Wighton lead the Raiders to glory? Picture by Kym Smith.

"If they need us to go into the CBD," Wighton said, "I'll have a coach either side of me.

"If I get the green light, I'll make sure I've got good company with me."

And as for now staying the path?

"I've seen a lot of younger players slip and, you know, I can understand why," he said. "You're going through the pressures, the hype, and you do get sick of people constantly being into you - calling you for stuff, saying you're a grub or whatever.

"After a while, that starts building up.

"And there are times when you do feel like telling people to get stuffed.

"But it's just not worth it.

"And as I said, I've got two beautiful girls so I'm here doing this for them now.

"And things are working out.

"I'm having a lot of fun with my footy, started to play off the cuff again. After a while too, it starts sinking in … you realise 'yeah, I'm back'.

"And now, I'm here. So it's all good."