Jack Wighton of the Raiders is tackled Photo: Cameron SpencerIf anyone can sympathise with Jack Wighton, it’s Brett Kimmorley.

But Kimmorley believes the Canberra Raiders fullback will eventually view his “I wish the ground would swallow me up” moment against St George Illawarra as a valuable learning curve.

Former NSW halfback Kimmorley admitted it took him some time to move on from his cut-out pass that was intercepted by Matt Bowen to hand Queensland a golden point win in Origin I, 2005.

Although not as big a stage, Wighton suffered a similar experience in last week’s extra-time loss to the Dragons, when his no-look pass 15 metres out from his own line was pounced on by Euan Aitken.

“I know how he feels, I can assure you,” Kimmorley said.

“I don’t think he looked where he was throwing it and I did, but it had the same outcome.

“It certainly knocked my confidence around a fair bit, for a while I struggled to pass the ball long right to left.

“In your head your worried about it [doing it again], but it’s understanding where the game is at as well.

“A bit of game management should come from this, when to play [expansively] and in what areas of the field.

“Probably a 20 metre restart [in 2005] isn’t the right time to do that, and the last tackle [before golden point half time] with kick chase coming at you isn’t the right time [for Wighton].

“I don’t think you ever begrudge people backing their instincts and playing some footy, but you’ve got to play on the back of momentum and that’s the important thing I learned.”

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart experienced a similar moment for Australia in 1990, when Great Britain centre Paul O’Loughlin intercepted his pass to level scores at 10-all at Manchester.

The Brits had won game one of the three-Test series and were on the cusp of breaking a long drought against the Kangaroos, before Stuart atoned by setting up Mal Meninga’s match-winner.

“I certainly feel sorry for him [Wighton] but we’ve all been through it, Ricky did a similar thing playing for Australia as well,” Kimmorley said.

“He had enough time for the team to overcome it, but unfortunately for myself and Jack it was at the end of the game and you don’t have a chance to redeem itself.


“Ricky would be able to talk to him about the process he went through and how they fix it.

“You’ve got to get yourself back up, it’s learning from those things and there’ll be something he [Wighton] will take from it.

“It might be different to what I took out of it.”

The Raiders can return to the top eight with a win over New Zealand Warriors at New Plymouth on Saturday, having dropped consecutive away games against the Panthers and Dragons.

“I think they’ve under achieved if you gave them a scorecard up until now,” Kimmorley said.

“I think they’re a much better footy side than the ladder says. They’ve hurt themselves a few times, their kicking game has been pretty poor and some individuals have made some poor choices.”


Saturday: New Zealand Warriors v Canberra Raiders at Yarrow Park, New Plymouth, 5.30pm.

TV: Live on Fox Sports 1.

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