YOUNG Canberra star Jack Wighton has revealed he was a nervous wreck before playing against Canberra’s big three and had to be nursed through the lead-up by captain Terry Campese.
As the dust settles on the upset of the year, stories of the Raiders’ bravery have emerged with hooker Glenn Buttriss playing on despite an ugly compound fracture of the finger and the bench reduced to two men for most of the contest due to injuries to Tom Learoyd-Lahrs (foot) and Joe Picker (concussion).
What’s more, it was all done without the absent David Shillington, Jarrod Croker, Josh Papalii and Joel Thompson.
Wighton, 20, admitted lining up against Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk had been daunting “Coming into the game, it was very nerve-racking for me – definitely,” he said.
“It’s good having Campo back. He helped me through the week. It’s awesome to have someone like that around, it helps you with your confidence.”
Along with all the injuries, the Raiders also conceded a first half try to Billy Slater which coach David Furner was convinced should have been disallowed due to an obstruction.
“Questionable – very,” said Furner. “I’m just not sure with the obstruction, really. “I thought it was a non-try. It’s something I’ll definitely be questioning.
“You talk about 50-50s. There were a couple of times there where I thought we should have got the 50-50s.”
Picker’s return to the field after being heavily concussed early surprised many and the NRL is likely to double-check the procedures used, although the Raiders insist he passed all the required tests at halftime
“I told them at halftime I was ready to go,” said Picker.
“It was just a matter of them finding a spot for me on the field. I was ready to go. I think they were a bit worried but I wanted to get back out there.”
It was a big week for the “Swift Family Robinson” with Travis scoring two tries for Penrith in Monday Night Football and twin brother Reece posting an 80-metre scorcher from dummy-half four days later.
“I just saw a bit of open space and thought I’d take it,” Robinson said. “We try to bring a bit of excitement down here and try to give it to them from the start. “
Winger Sandor Earl said: “There were times down there when they got some rubbish tries and we were able to turn it around and lift ourselves again. That’s the sort of stuff that sets us up for hopefully a good season.”
It was a miraculous win in Campese’s first start this year but he said: “I can do I lot better than that, that’s probably the worst performance I’ve ever put in.
“I owe the boys a few beers after that.
“We always get up against the good teams. We have to be like that consistently and we haven’t been too good away from home.
“Beating Melbourne in Melbourne after 15 straight, mate – we can beat anyone on our day.”
Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK