‘I was a drunken idiot’: Raiders star vows to clean up act
After an off-field incident led to him being banned for 10 games last NRL season, Canberra's Jack Wighton says there will be no more "blunders".
The 26-year-old is preparing for his first NRL game since June following his conviction for an alcohol-fuelled assault.
Wighton pleaded guilty to assaulting five men while out celebrating his birthday, which resulted in a two-month suspended jail sentence in November.
He gave a blunt assessment of himself when asked by Fairfax whether he had watched the CCTV of the unprovoked incident.
"And what are my thoughts? I was a drunken idiot," Wighton told Fairfax.
"I've watched it couple of times. It was mainly to recap that night. From the word go I couldn't remember. I had had one too many beverages. It was a wild night on the town. It wasn't good."
Wighton said the incident combined with the lengthy ban, gave him time to reflect.
"I definitely found a new outlook on life and the game. It showed me how much I do love the game," Wighton told AAP.
"I'm getting a bit older now and I've got to take every chance I get with both hands.
"No more blunders, it's all got to be now or nothing."
Wighton said he is more than willing to talk about his experiences to other NRL players in trouble, at a time when the sport finds itself involved in multiple off-field scandals.
"I don't want to be a preacher, but if anyone comes to me for advice and get in a situation, they all know I'm very happy to talk to them," he said.
It will be a fresh start for Wighton in more ways than one when he runs out in Canberra's season opener on the Gold Coast.
After being the Raiders' fullback since 2015, he will switch to five-eighth and partner Aidan Sezer in the halves.
The 130-gamer hasn't played that role since 2014, but is feeling good about the move after encouragement from coach Ricky Stuart.
"At the start of pre-season, Ricky really pushed me up the front to train as a half," Wighton said.
"As we got into a bit, I started to feel more comfortable and they (coaches) could see that.
"I've always wanted to be back in the line, either as a centre or a half, that's where I always wanted to be doing some tackling."