Smart Moves: Why Letting Wighton Go was the Right Choice for Ricky’s Raiders

After the finals and the contract deadline, NRL silly season has officially begun. Smart Signings is here to analyze what clubs need and where they can improve with stats, profiles, and realistic options. Ricky Stuart enters his 11th season with the Canberra Raiders, knowing they need to get better after a lucky season. The departure of Jack Wighton to South Sydney is a big story recruitment-wise, but it might not be the worst thing for the team. Also departing are Jarrod Croker and Matt Frawley with new arrivals from Wigan, Manly, and Newcastle. This confuses many, but second-guessing Stuart is a fool’s errand. He knows what’s coming through and what’s going out and might be working with two ideas in his mind. Their list is both very old and very young, with a possible fallow period between generations. It’s also not clear who will play in key positions in the upcoming season. 2024 is likely to be the year they get a run since making the showpiece. Canberra was among the worst teams to watch in 2023, and the stats suggest changes are needed to become more attack-minded. They might need to upgrade their forward pack, and a marquee backrower could be the answer, such as Jordan Riki. The Super League might also offer potential imports for the Raiders.