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Blake Ferguson's lawyer slams NRL over lack of 'mercy'

On bond: Blake Ferguson leaves the Sutherland Local Court on Monday.

On bond: Blake Ferguson leaves the Sutherland Local Court on Monday. Photo: AAP

The lawyer for Blake Ferguson has launched a scathing attack on the NRL for their lack of ''mercy'' towards the troubled NSW Origin star and questioned what would become of him if he wasn't allowed to resume playing after receiving a two-year good behaviour bond for indecent assault.

Adam Houda, who has lodged an all grounds appeal against the conviction and penalty, admitted Ferguson had a problem with alcohol but said he needed support - not banishment - from the game that had provided a ''lifeline'' for him after a ''harrowing'' upbringing by his drug-addicted mother.

With Sydney Roosters, South Sydney, Cronulla and Canterbury believed to be interested in Ferguson, Houda said the 23-year-old would be best served by playing as he would have to train up to seven days a week and be focused on helping his team in games.

''That is his best rehabilitation because that is what Blake does best but right now he is unemployed, he is earning no money and what are you going to do - just leave him to hang out with undesirables,'' Houda said.

Ferguson said his main priority was appealing the sentence handed down on Monday in Sutherland Local Court by magistrate Jacquelline Trad, but the former Canberra and Cronulla star told Fairfax Media that he did not know what he would do if he could not return to the NRL.

''Playing footy is what I do and that is my main source of income so if I don't play football I don't do anything, '' Ferguson said. ''They have given chances to a lot more people, I have only had two strikes to my name and I have been condemned for it. It's bullcrap. If I train seven days a week I have got something to go to every day so that is one thing that is pretty good for me.''

The NRL said it had provided Ferguson with extensive support to assist his rehabilitation.

The program covered alcohol and drug education, sexual ethics, cultural awareness and leadership through to career counselling and development.

"It is disappointing to hear the comments today given the effort the NRL's Education and Welfare team has invested to help Blake address the issues he has faced," NRL chief operating officer Jim Doyle said. "Our programs have proved successful for the overwhelming majority of players."

Houda outlined details of Ferguson's childhood as he argued that no conviction be recorded, telling the court his parents had separated before he was born and he had lived with his mother, who used drugs and had sex in front of him, until DOCS intervened when he was 13 years old.

''This is only some of the details of the traumatic upbringing of Blake Ferguson,'' Houda said. With his career in tatters and his reputation ''savaged'', Houda said Ferguson had been punished enough.

He also took aim at the NRL over a statement issued after Ferguson was found guilty on December 11, in which Doyle said the verdict ''would have to be strongly considered'' in forming a view whether he was a ''fit and proper person to be registered as a player''.

''The magistrate made a finding and then moments later they have come out and condemned Blake in the strongest possible terms and indicated they won't be registering him as a player,'' Houda said. ''There was no careful judgment, no careful consideration; just a very strong punitive response when the welfare of the player should be their paramount consideration.

''They are happy to throw 18-year-old kids into a culture that is embedded in alcohol and drinking and into the world of celebrity where all their actions are heavily scrutinised but when they can't handle the pressure they want to crush them.

''Where is the mercy? The NRL should be putting their arms around Blake, who has had a very, very troubled past and a harrowing childhood. He went to six different schools, he developed post traumatic stress disorder because of his harrowing upbringing and at 18, rugby league presented itself as a lifeline for the kid and he became a star.

''He has given entertainment to lot of people and when things go wrong they want to wash their hands of him. It's not right, this is a kid who has got no prior criminal convictions and he deserves a chance. People should look into his history and work out that it is a miracle he ever got to where he has.''

169 comments

  • No sign of remorse

    Commenter
    IH
    Date and time
    February 03, 2014, 8:46PM
    • Sounds like the usual suspects blaming everyone but the perpetrator as well.

      Commenter
      Get a Grip
      Date and time
      February 04, 2014, 7:29AM
    • Perhaps Blake should have been given speech lessons as well (for example: "It's all bullcrap"), and I suspect Blake would expect that to be at the NRL's expense too? If Blake is mastering everything so well at the football end of things, perhaps it was time, as part of all of this, to also take personal responsibility for his social graces, and his ability to enunciate the issues, if he wants to be in the NRL limelight?

      Commenter
      Bob
      Location
      Davidson, NSW
      Date and time
      February 04, 2014, 9:39AM
    • He doesn't know what he would do without footy.

      I don't know, how about get a job you slacker.

      Commenter
      ST
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      February 04, 2014, 10:35AM
    • Agree, no remorse. Welcome to life sucker, deal with it ...

      Commenter
      OscarP
      Location
      Brsvgs.
      Date and time
      February 04, 2014, 11:10AM
    • Blake is a footy player. He isn't an English teacher and won't be required to write the history of Australia anytime soon.

      Commenter
      qlder
      Date and time
      February 04, 2014, 11:21AM
  • Wasn't enamoured about this guy until I read his history. Yes I know its probably been "stretched a bit", but even so he's come from a rough start. He's had plenty of opportunities now so make the best of it Blake. No more excuses ok?

    Commenter
    Christine
    Location
    Campbelltown
    Date and time
    February 03, 2014, 9:32PM
    • Even with his history there comes a time when every man must learn to take responsibility for their own actions.. Not throw blame at everything and everyone but himself.

      Commenter
      Meds
      Date and time
      February 04, 2014, 8:54AM
    • Meds, didn't you read the article? Blake isn't a "man", According to his manager and apologists like Anthony Mundine he is actually a "kid" - a 23 year old "kid" to be exact.

      To be honest, I'm sick of hearing people refer to men in their twenties as "kids". Sure he has had a tough upbringing but I agree with you that there has to come a point when he starts behaving responsibly. Will we still be referring to Blake as a "poor kid" when he's 30 years old?

      Commenter
      39 year old kid
      Location
      Coogee
      Date and time
      February 04, 2014, 9:56AM
    • @ Christine

      Obviously what is happening to Blake is 'bullcrap'....hence he is just an 'escape goat' for the NRL.

      We all need to ask ourselves who is the victim here ? For sure it's not that 'escaped goat' !

      Commenter
      Machooka
      Location
      inner west sydney
      Date and time
      February 04, 2014, 11:22AM

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NEW 24vs NZW 14 Report Stats
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CRO 20vs CBR 24 Report Stats
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CBY 28vs MAN 16 Report Stats
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NQL 23vs CBY 16 Stats
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PAR 10vs MEL 28 Stats
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MEL 16vs SOU 12 Stats
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NEW 22vs WST 12 Stats
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MAN 10vs PEN 11 Stats
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SOU 36vs NZW 4 Stats
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CBY 29vs STG 16 Stats
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MEL 12vs BRI 14 Report Stats
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BRI 44vs NEW 22 Stats
SOU 20vs MAN 8 Report Stats
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NZW 30vs CBR 8 Stats
NQL 18vs CRO 24 Report Stats
PAR 16vs STG 12 Report Stats
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WST 12vs PEN 35 Stats
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MAN 28vs CRO 16 Report Stats
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WST 16vs PAR 28 Stats
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CBR 36vs NEW 22 Stats
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CBY 8vs BRI 16 Stats
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NZW 28vs MEL 14 Report Stats
CRO 28vs STG 8 Report Stats
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GCT 6vs MAN 38 Stats
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PAR 4vs CBY 28 Report Stats
MEL 52vs PEN 10 Report Stats
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CBR 20vs CRO 21 Report Stats
NEW 30vs GCT 2 Report Stats
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SYD 24vs NZW 0 Report Stats
BRI 42vs WST 16 Stats
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MAN 12vs NQL 30 Stats
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Round 20
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BRI 34vs GCT 0 Report Stats
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NZW 12vs MAN 32 Stats
MEL 22vs STG 4 Stats
SOU 52vs NEW 6 Stats
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PEN 24vs CBR 34 Report Stats
CBY 16vs CRO 18 Report Stats
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NQL 46vs PAR 4 Stats
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Round 21
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SYD 38vs CBY 28 Report Stats
WST 34vs MEL 16 Report Stats
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NQL 32vs CBR 24 Stats
MAN 44vs BRI 14 Stats
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SOU 20vs PEN 16 Report Stats
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GCT 24vs PAR 14 Stats
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Round 22
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CBY 19:45SUN
MAN vs SOU 19:45BO
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NZW vs STG 15:00Westpac Stadium
CRO vs NQL 17:30Remondis Stadium
PAR vs PEN 19:30TIO
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MEL vs GCT 14:00AAMI
NEW vs SYD 16:00HS
Mon, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR vs WST 19:00GIO Stadium
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Round 23
Thu, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
NQL vs SOU 19:451300 Smiles Stadium
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs STG 19:45SUN
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
WST vs NEW 15:00CSS
PEN vs NZW 17:30Pepper Stadium
SYD vs PAR 19:30AS
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CBR vs MAN 14:00GIO Stadium
CBY vs GCT 16:00Central Coast Stadium
Mon, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO vs MEL 19:00Remondis Stadium
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Round 24
Thu, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
STG vs PEN 19:45WIN
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU vs CBY 19:45ANZ
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO vs WST 15:00Remondis Stadium
NZW vs NQL 17:30MSS
SYD vs BRI 19:30AS
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
GCT vs CBR 14:00Cbus Super Stadium
MAN vs PAR 16:00BO
Mon, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL vs NEW 19:00AAMI
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Round 25
Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU vs BRI 19:45AS
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
MAN vs SYD 19:45BO
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
PAR vs CRO 15:00Pirtek Stadium
NEW vs CBY 17:30HS
MEL vs NQL 19:30AAMI
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
WST vs NZW 14:00CSS
GCT vs STG 16:00Cbus Super Stadium
Mon, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR vs PEN 19:30GIO Stadium
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Round 26
Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI vs MEL 19:45SUN
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD vs SOU 19:45AS
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
PEN vs NEW 15:00Pepper Stadium
STG vs WST 17:30ANZ
NQL vs GCT 19:301300 Smiles Stadium
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
PAR vs CBR 14:00Pirtek Stadium
CRO vs MAN 16:00Remondis Stadium
CBY vs NZW 18:30ANZ
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Team P W L D Pts
Brisbane Broncos 19 15 4 0 34
North Queensland Cowboys 19 15 4 0 34
Sydney Roosters 19 13 6 0 30
South Sydney Rabbitohs 19 12 7 0 28
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 19 11 8 0 26
Melbourne Storm 19 10 9 0 24
St George-Illawarra Dragons 19 9 10 0 22
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 19 9 10 0 22
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