CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 08: Jack Wighton of the Raiders is tackled by James Maloney of the Panthers during the round 14 NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Penrith Panthers at GIO Stadium on June 8, 2018 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 08: Jack Wighton of the Raiders is tackled by James Maloney of the Panthers during the round 14 NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Penrith Panthers at GIO Stadium on June 8, 2018 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Huge backflip in NRL star’s assault case

RAIDERS star Jack Wighton has pleaded guilty to multiple assault charges and public urination during a wild night out in Canberra.

The star fullback appeared at the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday morning alongside Canberra chief executive Don Furner and lawyer Jason Moffett.

The charges relate to a pre-season incident where Wighton was reportedly celebrating his birthday before an alleged incident outside Civic nightclub in the nation's capital.

Magistrate Bernadette Boss's plea hearing resulted in seven related charges against Wighton being withdrawn. However, the Indigenous All Stars representative pleaded guilty in person to three charges, including one of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Wighton will return to court on July 6.

The Canberra Times reports police have reviewed CCTV footage of the alleged incident following police reports of multiple assaults occurring at the Canberra nightspot between 2.45am and 3am on February 3.

Wighton's guilty plea is a significant backflip for the 25-year-old after he originally pleaded not guilty April to five charges of common assault, urinating in a public place and three charges of recklessly or intentionally inflicting actual bodily harm.

The Raiders are yet to comment publicly on any further disciplinary actions after previously declaring the club would allow Wighton to continue playing before the outcome of the court case was known.

 

Jack Wighton of the Raiders is tackled by Kevin Naiqama of the Tigers during the Round 15 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Canberra Raiders at Campbelltown Stadium in Sydney, Sunday, June 17, 2018. (AAP Image/Brendon Thorne) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Jack Wighton of the Raiders is tackled by Kevin Naiqama of the Tigers during the Round 15 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Canberra Raiders at Campbelltown Stadium in Sydney, Sunday, June 17, 2018. (AAP Image/Brendon Thorne) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

It is horrible news for the struggling club, just one day after star playmaker Aiden Sezer re-signed until the end of the 2020 season.

The Raiders also announced a contract extension for hooker Siliva Havili. Sezer had previously been linked with a return to junior club Canterbury, and comes just days after recruitment boss Peter Mulholland ruled out re-signing Blake Austin.

"Obviously it's added security for myself and my family," Sezer said on Wednesday.

"But to sort the contract stuff out is a breath of fresh air and to have my future locked up for the next couple of years is a positive move for myself."

The recruitment moves mean Austin and forward Iosaia Soliola are the only members of their current line-up without homes for next season. Austin rejected a lucrative offer to remain in the nation's capital last year in the hope of attracting a better deal with strong form in 2018, but is now on the lookout for a new club.

Ata Hingano, who has been ruled out for the rest of the year with an ankle injury, as well as Sam Williams loom as possible options to partner Sezer in the halves next year.

Mulholland said the club identified Sezer as pivotal to their long-term success. "Aidan's a very talented player who we believe can continue to improve and become a dominant player for our club," he said.

"He's an organising halfback who is an important part of our team and we're looking forward to seeing him lead us around the park for the next two years." The Raiders are currently four points outside the top eight in ninth spot, but are set up for a run at the finals after the successful return of hooker Josh Hodgson from injury.

- with AAP


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