The Canberra Raiders have told Jack Wighton he will be sacked if he is involved in another off-field controversy after the fullback pleaded guilty to assault last year.
Wighton admitted he feared his career was over after his violent acts were captured on CCTV footage at the end of a night out in Civic 12 months ago.
Wighton was sentenced to a suspended jail term and fined for drunkenly assaulting five men during a 20-minute rampage.
The 26-year-old says he was warned by Raiders chairman Allan Hawke, chief executive Don Furner, coach Ricky Stuart and former chairman John McIntyre he would be axed if he misbehaved again.
"I could have easily been sacked. From Allan Hawke, [McIntyre], Ricky and Donny ... they've all stuck by me in the end and also given me the hard word that if anything ever happens again, I'm basically out the door.
"But I have to thank them for sticking by me at the same time because I wouldn't be here still [at the Raiders]."
Wighton was speaking about his incident at the same time the NRL is dealing with several off-field controversies, which have overshadowed the start of a new year.
Ben Barba was sacked by the North Queensland Cowboys and deregistered by the NRL after an investigation into an alleged domestic violence incident. There have also been coaching controversies, alleged assaults and sex tapes.
Wighton was involved in his incident last year, but the drama dragged on for nine months as he awaited sentencing from the ACT Galambany Circle Sentencing Court.
He faced two charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, three counts of common assault, and one charge of public urination.
He was fined $3500, received a two-month suspended jail sentence and was placed on a one-year good-behaviour bond.
The NRL imposed a 10-match ban and fined Wighton $30,000 after the integrity unit viewed footage of the incident.
"It showed me how close I was to losing it all from that silly night," Wighton said.
"...Not really scared [of losing my career], stressed. Very stressed. Disappointed in myself. I let down my family, I've got two beautiful young girls and I thought about them more than anyone. What was the next step if it was the worst case?"
Wighton missed the last 10 games of the season last year while serving his suspension. He wants to repay the Raiders and fans for his absence last year and could shift to five-eighth for the 2019 campaign.
The Raiders will play a trial match against Parramatta in Sydney next week to kickstart their year and will play another trial against the Bulldogs in Bega on February 23.
"I can't blame [any one], it took a big tool on myself and my family. I let down a lot of fans and people around the club so it's been a long 12 months," Wighton said.
"[I learnt] to appreciate the position I'm in ... I'm very excited about this year. I can't wait to take the field and hopefully repay the fans and the club for everything that's happened."