The Roar
The Roar


NRL Round 1 judiciary: Vegas roll of the dice comes up snake eyes for Roosters, Wighton gets repreive

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29th January, 2024

Few things go together better than gambling and Las Vegas – but the Roosters have copped a bad beat early with Jared Waerea-Hargraves‘ appeal to the NRL to reduce his suspension rejected.

The Kiwi enforcer was banned for a massive seven games following his two brain explosions against the Wests Tigers in Round 26 of last year.

He was given four games for dangerous contact and three for striking after a series of incidents, including a headbutt on Tigers prop Stefano Utoikamanu and a high shot on Api Koroisau.

Jared missed the last three games of the Roosters’ season plus the entire Pacific Championships with New Zealand.

He had attempted to get the All Stars Game included, but Waerea-Hargreaves has not represented the Maori All Stars since 2015.

Waerea-Hargreaves will now begin what will likely be his final season of NRL in Round 2, with a crunch clash on the Northern Beaches against his former club Manly at Brookvale Oval, which would in turn allow him to make his 300th appearance at Allianz Stadium against South Sydney in Round 3.

Jack Wighton, who was given three matches after a biting suspension in the Raiders’ finals loss to Newcastle, will also sit Vegas out although he is able to count the All Stars game as part of his ban after Souths appealed for it to be included and were successful.


Wighton has appeared seven times for the Indigenous All Stars, the joint most all-time.

That means Wighton will also likely debut in Round 3 against the Roosters, with the first two games plus the All Stars forming his three.

Seb Kris, who was sent off in the final round of the regular season for the Raiders, was able to include the Kiwis in his five match ban, meaning he returns Round 2 when the Tigers visit Canberra.

Corey Horsburgh will miss that game, however, as his four match ban stemming from Round 26 will carry over into Rounds 1 and 2 of 2024.

Tongan trio Tolu Koula (Manly), Latu Fainu (Tigers) and Siliva Havili (Souths) were also charged in rep footy, but are allowed to use the Pre-Season Challenge for their bans under International Rugby League rules. No English NRL players were banned from the same series.