Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart is set to name Jack Wighton in his starting team less than 24 hours before the fullback is due in the ACT Magistrates Court to face nine charges for his role in an alleged assault.
The Raiders are sticking by Wighton despite growing pressure on his immediate playing future, with details of the alleged incident likely to emerge this week.
Wighton is facing nine charges, expected to range from affray to assault, after an incident outside a Civic nightclub on February 3, with court proceedings to begin on Wednesday morning.
But a Raiders spokesperson confirmed Wighton will be named to return to the fullback role for a clash against the Parramatta Eels when Stuart announces his team on Tuesday afternoon.
Wighton missed Canberra's breakthrough win over the Canterbury Bulldogs last week after the birth of his second child. Raiders officials expect him to be at training on Monday and available for selection this week.
The Raiders and the NRL say they will wait for the outcome of Wighton's case before making any decision about any sanctions, if required, or his playing future.
The Raiders have taken a strong stance on club culture in the past, sacking some of their highest-profile players - including Josh Dugan, Blake Ferguson and Todd Carney - because of poor off-field behaviour.
The Raiders board also rejected an opportunity to sign NRL bad boy Carney in the off-season to protect the Green Machine culture.
Wighton is contracted to the Raiders until the end of 2020, but the NSW Country and Indigenous All Stars representative's future could be at risk.
The NRL has the option to step in when Wighton's court proceedings finish. But the game's governing body would be in an interesting position after allowing Brisbane Broncos prop Matt Lodge to return to the NRL after being arrested at gunpoint in 2015 following a violent home invasion.
The NRL is believed to also be considering allowing Carney to make a comeback for the North Queensland Cowboys despite his long list of indiscretions.
It is understood ACT Policing have examined CCTV footage of the alleged incident involving Wighton after officers received reports of three assaults between 2.45am and 3am near Bible Lane two months ago.
Police attended a disturbance at about 3.10am at the intersection of Mort and Bunda streets. Police asked for witnesses to come forward with information about what they described as a series of violent incidents.
Wighton's alleged role in the incidents is unknown, however it is understood at least three people were assaulted outside the Academy nightclub.
NRL officials were satisfied the Raiders had notified the NRL integrity unit as soon as the club was made aware of the alleged incidents.
It is believed Wighton was celebrating his birthday with friends before the alleged incidents that could send his career into freefall.
Nick Cotric has emerged as a fullback contender if Wighton is unavailable for selection following his impressive performance last weekend.
The Raiders scored their first win of the NRL season when they beat the Canterbury Bulldogs last week in a gutsy performance.
However, the club has been hit by injuries, with halfback Sam Williams to miss up to six weeks after injuring his knee.
Williams' injury blow will open the door for Blake Austin to return to the NRL side after being axed from the top squad two weeks ago.
NRL ROUND SIX
Saturday: Canberra Raiders v Parramatta Eels at Canberra Stadium, 7.35pm. Tickets available from Ticketek.
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