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Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton claims the Clive Churchill Medal.

Jack Wighton has claimed the Clive Churchill medal for just the fourth time in history from a losing side.

And he thoroughly deserved it. Even if the "wombats" in the stands didn't agree.

Whereas when Daly Cherry-Evans was a contentious pick in 2013 against a rampaging Roosters outfit led by James Maloney and Sonny Bill Williams, Wighton always loomed largest over this cliffhanger.

A devastated Ricky Stuart was bang on when asked about Wighton's claims to the award, which was met with a smattering of boos at ANZ Stadium.

“The best player on the field got the award tonight,” Stuart said.

“Whether those people out there who booed agree with it or not, Jack didn’t pick it.

“Three legends of our game pick the award and I think they know a little bit more than the wombats sitting behind the goal post.”

Wighton slices through on the right

Wighton meanwhile couldn't say much. On stage as he graciously collected the award, glumly offering a few words and congratulations to the Roosters.

"This is the numbest feeling I've ever felt," Wighton told the crowd, doubling down in the post-match press-conference.

“It was a numb feeling to achieve something so big but it’s probably the worst moment of my life losing the grand final,” he said.

“But I’m extremely proud of the boys and I love every single on of them.

“It’s just a really weird feeling at the minute."

Lime green icon Bradley Clyde is the only other Raider to claim the Clive Churchill medal from a losing side, against Penrith in 1991.

He was on stage when Wighton was called forth, and along with Cherry-Evans and 1993 winner Brad Mackay from St George, only truly knows that 'weird feeling'.

To be the best on the paddock in an NRL decider, when being the best just isn't quite enough. That was Wighton.

When the premiers shot out of the box with an early 8-0 lead, it was Wighton that pinned them back in Laurie Daley's old No.6 jumper.

With Daley's old swerve and verve at the line, he split Boyd Cordner and Angus Crichton back against the grain.

That came after half an hour of heavy hits and pinpoint kicks from the NSW utility.

Against South Sydney a week earlier, Wighton arsed his way into a critical try, "being a bit lazy in backplay, before the ball came my way, I kicked it and took off."

Such is Wighton's magnetism for the moment, it always felt as though he could pull off something similar in the decider.

Just after halftime, he almost did. With the Raiders on the attack, he kept going at the line. And going. And going.

Then at the last second, a threaded grubber that but for the game's best player wearing the red, white and blue No.1, would've had Jarrod Croker over for the lead.

When Canberra needed something, Wighton was the one they turned to.

His 62 touches for the night almost doubled the 36 of his halves partner Aidan Sezer.

Even the Ben Cummins 'six again' call that will spoken of ad-nauseum in coming days, and remembered all summer by Ricky Stuart and his side, saw Wighton dying with the ball.

There was no wondering, even if it was in vain.

It might not feel like it. It'll probably always be that "weird feeling".

But Wighton thoroughly deserved this one. A rare piece of history, and a medal he would gladly trade for a premiership ring.

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.