Raiders boss Don Furner says the NRL have come down harder on Jack Wighton after the Broncos mishandled Matt Lodge’s suspension, which led to a widespread of backlash.
The Canberra club are unhappy with the NRL’s decision to add four weeks to Wighton’s suspension given they have been bold with managing appropriate club-imposed suspensions in the past.
The NRL ultimately stepped in and whacked Wighton with a 10-week ban in total as well as a $30,000 fine, which puts the troubled star in the frame to return for finals should the Green Machine qualify.
Raiders chairman labelled he NRL’s punishment to Wighton as “excessive”, adding that the league should simply suspend players before the clubs do if they are going to override the initial sanctions.
Following the adverse reactions to the CCTV footage that leaked in March showing Lodge victimising a young family in the USA in 2015, Furner feels the NRL has made sure they dealt with Wighton’s case accordingly.
“The NRL were embarrassed by their and Broncos’ handling of the Matt Lodge incident and it appears Jack has paid a higher price for that,” Furner told Fairfax Media on Sunday.
The Raiders are reportedly ensuring that the vision does not emerge of Wighton terrorising the family, with the fullback set to face sentencing for his actions in court on November 14.
But an NRL spokesperson said every case is unique, and that Wighton is not paying for any previous backlashes.
“The sanctions are based purely on a case-by-case basis and it was based solely on the evidence provided to the NRL,” an NRL spokesman told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“It’s not related to any other case.
“They’ve got five days if they want to appeal so if they feel there’s been a misjustice they have every right to appeal by the end of this week.”
The Raiders have until the end of this week to challenge the NRL’s extended penalty, but are reportedly unlikely to do so.
“Jack is seeking advice and considering his options,” Furner said.