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Ferguson's NRL career in tatters

Blake Ferguson

Blake Ferguson's hopes of returning to the NRL next season are in serious jeopardy, after he was found guilty of indecent assault in a Sydney court on Wednesday.
Ferguson's NRL career in tatters
by AAP

By Ben Horne

SYDNEY, Dec 11 AAP - Blake Ferguson's hopes of returning to the NRL next season are in serious jeopardy, after he was found guilty of indecent assault in a Sydney court on Wednesday.

Ferguson had the rugby league world at his feet when he made his State of Origin debut in May, but now his career is in tatters.

The NRL has condemned the behaviour of the former Canberra and NSW star.

Integrity unit chief Jim Doyle made it clear Ferguson's guilty verdict would work against him if he's planning a rugby league comeback in 2014.

So far the NRL hasn't been notified of a contract for Ferguson next year, despite South Sydney, Cronulla, the Warriors and Brisbane linked to his services.

Until that happens, Ferguson is not subject to the NRL's rules or sanctions.

Magistrate Jacqueline Trad found Ferguson touched a 24-year-old woman inappropriately at a Cronulla nightclub in June, however sentencing has been postponed until February.

The NRL takes a hard line against indecent behaviour and assaults against women and the matter was discussed at length at the commissioners' meeting held at Rugby League Central on Wednesday.

Ferguson's chances of playing next year appear slim.

"Whether someone is a rugby league player or not, the actions are completely unacceptable and entirely contrary to the values of our fans and the game," said chief operating officer Jim Doyle.

"In considering any future application for registration, the NRL is required to form a view as to whether someone is a fit and proper person to be registered as a player.

"Today's ruling would have to be strongly considered if any club at any level of the game was to apply for a registration on his behalf."

Ferguson was suspended by the NRL earlier in 2013 for repeated alcohol offences, and the centre was ultimately sacked by Canberra after refusing to report for club duties.

The NRL has so far reserved its position on the charges of indecent assault until the matter went to court. Ferguson was out with State of Origin teammate Josh Dugan on the night in question.

The 23-year-old made an unsuccessful foray into boxing last month when he was beaten comprehensively by another first-time fighter, Luke Kelly.




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