20 October 2020

Jack Wighton caps off an incredible 12 months, winning the Dally M medal as the NRL’s top player

| Tim Gavel
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Canberra Raiders, Jack Wighton, NRL, rugby league

Your 2020 Dally M Medal winner – Jack Wighton. Photo: Region Media.

Leading into last night’s Dally M awards, no Raiders player had won the top award for the NRL player of the season in 25 years.

And it was widely speculated that the drought would continue with the Panthers’ Nathan Cleary the red-hot favourite.

Heading into the final round there was a three-way contest for the award between Cleary, Clint Gutherson, and Raiders five-eighth, Jack Wighton.

Wighton had emerged as a contender with a number of brilliant performances that lifted his side to victory.

But even Wighton thought his chances of winning the medal were gone heading into the final Round 20 game against the Sharks, with Ricky Stuart opting to rest him and a number of key players to keep them fresh for the finals.

Both Cleary and Gutherson played that round but, remarkably, failed to secure any points.

Wighton was declared the winner with 26 points from Gutherson on 25 and Cleary with 24.

It caps off an extraordinary 12 months for Wighton winning the Clive Churchill Medal for the Player of the 2019 Grand Final and the joint Player of the Year this season in Canberra, sharing the Meninga Medal with Josh Papalii.

Wighton becomes the third Raider to win the Dally M, with Ricky Stuart winning it in 1993 and Laurie Daley in 1995.

He was also named the Five-eighth of the Year, with Papalii winning one of the two Props of the Year award.

Wighton paid tribute to coach Stuart for giving him the opportunity to play in the halves after shifting him from fullback.

Speaking on Fox Sports, Wighton praised his teammates in what has been the toughest season on record with the COVID-19 quarantine restrictions and a crippling travel schedule.

“Being down there in Canberra and in the bubble, I wouldn’t like to do it with a better bunch of blokes,” said Wighton.

“They’ve just been amazing. I think we’re really building. We’re setting a foundation. That’s something that’s really grown over the last couple of years and you can really see that within the boys and within the head of the club. I think we’re going the right way.”

Wighton will now go back into a quarantine bubble to prepare for the upcoming State of Origin Series against Queensland.

Original Article published by Tim Gavel on The RiotACT.

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