Troubled rugby league star Blake Ferguson has taken a further step towards proving he's a fit person to return to the NRL, after completing his referees course.
Ferguson is currently working with the Sydney Roosters in an off-field role, however an application to have him registered to return to playing this year was rejected by the NRL.
The 24-year-old was found guilty of indecent assault after groping a woman in a late-night incident last year, however the NRL have indicated that they may lift his deregistration for next season if he demonstrates he's taken measures to improve his life off the field.
Former NRL referee Greg McCallum, who is working with the NSW Referees Association as a director of refereeing development, says Ferguson was "excellent" in the way he approached the course.
Ferguson would need to be cleared by the NRL to work with children if he was to actually take up the whistle, but McCallum said by completing the course, Ferguson had displayed a genuine interest in getting back involved in the game.
"It's excellent. He performed really well and showed a real interest in it," McCallum told AAP.
"I think he needs to show the game that he's serious about being involved in it. That's the key and refereeing isn't the most glamorous of things to be involved in but it's a very crucial part of the game. I think it's a very positive thing that he would do that.
"He's got a lot of ground to make up and this is a positive step forward - and he's been doing a lot of work with the Roosters as well."
McCallum said Ferguson had "significant issues" to overcome in terms of compliance, however if he was cleared by the NRL he would be eligible to referee mini and mod league as well as juniors 13 years and over.
If cleared, Ferguson would most likely referee in the Cronulla area, however, he is also recovering from a broken leg.
McCallum said John Hopoate undertook a similar course several years ago when he was involved in an incident at a junior rugby league match - and the former match review committee chairman said more players should get involved with refereeing.
Provided the NRL gave him the green light, McCallum says sacked Sharks five-eighth Todd Carney would also be welcomed into the refereeing ranks.
"If they were to clear Blake or Todd or anyone else to be involved in the game at that level, the NSW Referees association wouldn't stand in the way of anyone being involved," he said.
Ferguson was not convicted over the incident, however his guilt was upheld at his appeals hearing, and he's been ordered to stay away from pubs, clubs, bottleshops and undertake counselling for alcohol abuse.