Jack Wighton of the Raiders has been cleared to play finals.
Jack Wighton of the Raiders has been cleared to play finals. PAUL MILLER

Wighton escapes punishment for shoulder charge

THE NRL Judiciary took just five minutes to clear Canberra fullback Jack Wighton of a shoulder charge to clear him to play against Cronulla in Saturday's qualifying semi-final.

Canberra fans breathed a massive collective sigh of relief when Wighton walked free after his defence counsel convinced the three-man judiciary panel that his tackle on Wests Tigers forward Joel Edwards qualified as a shoulder charge.

The NRL virtually provided Wighton's defence with an ace card after it explained its decision not to charge Cronulla hooker Michael Ennis with a shoulder charge on Melabourne's Blake Green was because his arm was separated from his body and not tucked in.

Video produced by the Raiders showed Wighton's arm was not tucked in to his side which left the panel little choice to be find him not guilty.

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart was always confident Wighton would beat the charge.

"It's been a huge distraction for two days but it's one of those things we had to get through,” he said.

"I'm really happy with the hearing. It was very quick from the panel's decision.” 

Wighton was clearly relieved to be playing the biggest game of his life.

"It was good to get the result and can't wait to get out there this weekend,” he said.

"I was [surprised]. I had a lot of faith. It was one of them tackles that looked a bit worse than it was.

" It's been a little bit of a rough start to the week but I can't wait to get out there and do the Raiders proud.”

Wighton had been looking at a four-game suspension had he failed to beat the charge.