You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Jack Wighton scores and the Raiders celebrate.

A change of position, a shift in attitude, a growth spurt in maturity.

So what exactly was it that moulded Jack Wighton from standing in the dock of a criminal court to a Clive Churchill Medallist?

All these things have happened to Wighton in the past 12 months or so.

It's culminated in the Raiders this week cloaking the 27-year-old in a green jersey until the end of 2024.

The Raiders' faith in him shows how a teenager from NSW's central west with the toothy grin can be turned from a 'Happy Gilmore' style of character into winning one of the game's greatest individual honours - the Clive Churchill Medal - despite his team finishing on the wrong end of the scoreline against the Roosters on grand final night.

And then there's the Origin debut with the NSW Blues and the Kangaroos jersey – that all happened in 2019.

Take a few steps further back to 2018 and Wighton's image was way different – more of your well-paid footballer who had the tendency to let loose, over-indulge, get up to some tomfoolery.

He was a big kid even though he was heading from his mid-to-late 20s.

Jack is one of those lovable personalities. And for the boys in the team, he is a really good friend to have

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart

But the consequences caught up with him.

Wighton was fined and given a two-month suspended jail sentence in November 2018 for a drunken attack in Canberra's CBD 10 months earlier. The club suspended him for six matches then the NRL stepped in and extended that to 10 weeks, which meant his season was done.

Yet in 2019 Wighton took all that in his stride, copped a change from fullback to five-eighth from coach Ricky Stuart, coped with all that attention and expectation of being a playmaker, and rattled off a dream season.

Best of Jack Wighton

Origin series winner, Test debut, Churchill Medal - and he did it from the losing side in the grand final.

Certainly, Wighton's raw talent had gained him a couple of NSW Country and Indigenous All Stars sides, but no major rep jumpers or gongs.

So how does he change from rebellious to respected?

Maybe it's four words, brought on by the court case that could have ended his career: Fork In The Road.

Or better still, just one word: Family.

And that came in the shape of his partner, Monisha Lew Fatt, and young daughters Ariah and Aaliyah.

"He made an error and he picked up the pieces very quickly," Stuart told

"He didn't want to be that person for 'Mon' and his girls. He made some very good choices by keeping his focus forward, not looking back.

"What happened is in the past. All credit to Jack because he moved forward pretty quickly and the club went with him.

"We all love Jack. He is one of those lovable personalities. And for the boys in the team, he is a really good friend to have."

As for the switch from a dangerous, running No.1 to brand new digs at No.6 Stuart said it didn't happen overnight even if might seem that way.

"He worked extremely hard on his game. It just didn't eventuate from nothing because it's such a  difficult position to play, when you haven't played a lot in the halves before," Stuart said.

"But I had belief in him in making the transition. I wouldn't have done it otherwise.

"Jack is a special person to the club. [Raiders CEO] Don Furner has had some tough days with him, but he's repaying the club for our faith in him and that's all we ask.

"We ask our individuals to buy into the values of the club – to do everything they can as a proud Raider on and off the field.

"Of course there'll be hiccups but the good blokes learn from it and become better people."


Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners