Jack Wighton will miss the start of next season at South Sydney after he was found guilty by the NRL judiciary on Tuesday night for biting Newcastle opponent Tyson Gamble.
In a heated hearing, Wighton asked NRL lawyer Patrick Knowles “how many games of rugby league have you played” as he tried to claim the incident was an accident caused by Gamble applying pressure to his mouth with his forearm after tackling the Raiders centre.
After handing down the guilty verdict, the panel is now considering how many matches he will serve.
He had been referred directly to the judiciary on a dangerous contact charge arising from the 26th-minute incident in his last match for Canberra, their 30-28 elimination final loss in extra time at Newcastle.
After a lengthy on-field debate, referee Ashley Klein chose to place the Canberra star on report rather than sending him off.
Wighton will miss the beginning of next season for Souths, starting with their trip to face Manly in Las Vegas.
The 30-year-old retired from representative football earlier this year, meaning he is ineligible to serve his suspension during Australia’s end-of-season Test matches.
The Raiders had requested the hearing be pushed back to Wednesday but after discussions with the NRL, both parties agreed for Wighton to appear via videolink.
Former Gold Coast forward Kevin Proctor was the most recent player to be suspended for biting. He was given a four-game ban in 2020 over an incident involving then-Cronulla player Shaun Johnson.
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart called for the allegation to not overshadow Sunday’s game, while his Newcastle counterpart Adam O’Brien declined to comment after the nerve-racking final.
Gamble was keen to draw a line under the matter when asked about the incident shortly after the game.
“I want to leave that on the field. That’s footy,” he said. “It’s done and dusted, we shook hands and (Wighton) said all the best for the rest of the finals series. We’ll put it to the side and move on.”