Canberra five-eighth Jack Wighton is at long odds to play against premiers Penrith next week after his brain explosion helped hand Newcastle a 24-14 win.
The Raiders No. 6 was placed on report twice by referee Gerard Sutton on Sunday but his 48th minute sin-binning proved the most costly.
Newcastle had just hit the lead — one which they never relented — when Wighton clattered the head of Knights halfback Jackson Hastings with his shoulder.
On the following set, Tyson Frizell crashed through the Raiders’ line at McDonald Jones Stadium to put the Knights on course for their first win at home in seven games.
Newcastle winger Greg Marzhew had a stellar club debut, registering two tries as he stood in for Dominic Young.
The conduct of Wighton, who was also cautioned by Sutton for a high shot on Newcastle fullback Lachlan Miller, would have been all the more frustrating for Canberra coach Ricky Stuart given the Raiders were without regular No. 7 Jamal Fogarty due to illness.
Jack Wighton was twice placed on report on Sunday.Credit:Getty
Matt Frawley started at halfback for the Raiders in his first outing of the year, and the stand-in playmaker got the Green Machine rolling when he sent Hudson Young across the line after three minutes.
Canberra’s ill-discipline proved their undoing with Marzhew and Bradman Best finishing for the Knights.
Jackson Hastings was unable to convert either try and the Raiders made the Knights No. 7 pay for his off day with the boot.
Wighton pinballed his way through some flimsy Knights defence to score and Frawley was able to slot a two-point field goal to give the Raiders a 14-8 lead at the half-time break.
The Knights celebrate Dane Gagai’s try in front of their home fans.Credit:Getty
They were asleep at the wheel when the second half kicked off and Newcastle laid on three tries in the 10 minutes after the interval to which helped wrap up victory.
Marzhew exposed some condensed defence to score his second of the afternoon with Dane Gagai powering in not long afterwards.
Wighton was sin-binned for his shot on Hastings and Frizell smartly made a beeline for the edge where Canberra were short on numbers to muscle over.
Even when Wighton was back on the field the Raiders had next to no attacking spark, structure or organisation.
Hudson Young got the Raiders off to a dream start with his third-minute try.Credit:Getty
The Knights, who face Manly next week, were able to defend what Canberra threw at them as they walked away with their second win of the season.
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