BOOM Orange junior Jack Wighton has been named to make his National Rugby League debut for the Canberra Raiders.
A former Australian Schoolboys representative, the 19-year-old will get his first taste of the big time on the wing in the Green Machine’s clash with the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday night at Skilled Park.
However, Wighton was hit with a grade two dangerous tackle charge out of his under 20s clash with the Melbourne Storm last weekend in Canberra, which could rub the classy five-eighth out for two weeks.
The Raiders have signalled their intention to fight the charge at a judiciary hearing tonight.
If Wighton has the charge down graded, he will be free to take on the Titans.
But if the Raiders are unsuccessful in their bid to see the former CYMS and Bloomfield junior debut, Wighton could be sitting on the sidelines for three weeks.
Wighton impressed Raiders coaching staff during his elevation to the NRL squad in the pre-season.
Canberra coach David Furner named Wighton to replace injured winger Reece Robinson, who will miss up to five weeks of football with a depressed fracture of the cheekbone suffered in the Raiders’ 24-19 loss to the Storm.
Furner believes Wighton will be up to the challenge.
“He played a pretty aggressive type of football last week, so he’s earned himself an opportunity,” Furner said.
“We feel that we’ve got some grounds there that it can be downgraded. Hopefully, that does happen so he gets his debut.”
Should the appeal fail, Furner said he has a contingency plan.
“We’ve got Dimitri Pelo in that sort of position so there is a (Plan) B and C,” he said.
Raiders: 1 Josh Dugan, 2 Blake Ferguson, 3 Jarrod Croker, 4 Shaun Berrigan, 5 Jack Wighton, 6 Terry Campese, 7 Josh McCrone, 8 David Shillington, 9 Travis Waddell, 10 Brett White, 11 Josh Papalii, 12 Bronson Harrison, 13 Shaun Fensom. Interchange: 14 Glen Buttriss, 15 Joel Thompson, 16 Dane Tilse, 17 Trevor Thurling.
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