Canberra Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton has won the 2020 Dally M Player of the Year award after a sensational season that saw him poll 26 votes.
There were eight games in which Wighton polled the maximum three votes and two games where he polled one vote.
27-year-old Wighton finished just one vote ahead of Clint Gutherson (Parramatta Eels) and two votes ahead of the favourite Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers) to become the first Raider to win the award since Laurie Daley back in 1995.
Many have compared the way Wighton plays to Daley with his powerful ball running and an ability to will his team to victory.
2020 was just Wighton’s second season playing full time five-eighth and after winning the Clive Churchill medal in 2019, he took his game to a whole new level this year.
After Raiders captain Josh Hodgson went down with an ACL injury halfway through the season, Wighton and fellow halves partner George Williams were asked to step up their playmaking duties and they did so superbly.
Wighton scored 13 tries this season and had a further 8 try-assists to help the Raiders through to a preliminary final where they were defeated by the Melbourne Storm last Friday night.
The award caps an incredible turnaround for Wighton who was almost sacked by the Raiders after he narrowly avoided jail following a drunken incident in Civic back in February 2018.
Ricky Stuart showed tremendous faith to keep Wighton around and not only has he repaid the club on the field with his tremendous form, he has also improved his life off the field.
After the incident, Wighton promised Stuart that he would not go drinking in the city again and that decision has clearly paid dividends.
Wighton was also named at five-eighth in the Dally M Team of the Year and was joined by teammate Josh Papalii, who was one of the props of the year and also won the tackle of the year for his brilliant ankle tap against the Gold Coast Titans.
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