Injured Raiders player Blake Ferguson at Erskineville Oval with under 10 players for the Alexandria Rovers on Thursday. Photo: Anthony Johnson
NSW star Blake Ferguson has expressed anger at being blamed for the sacking of Canberra coach David Furner and vowed to repair his off-field image.
Ferguson, who travelled to Sydney on Thursday to help his cousin Anthony Mundine coach the Alexandria Rovers under-10s team, insisted he had not decided whether to invoke a get-out clause in his Raiders contract and indicated the identity of Furner's replacement may have a bearing on his future at the club.
''It's not about money, it's about my happiness,'' said Ferguson, who admitted he enjoyed life in Sydney and revealed he had spoken to Cronulla captain Paul Gallen on Thursday while the Cronulla captain was training with Tony Mundine.
Ferguson said he had wanted a get-out clause in his new two-year Raiders contract if Furner was no longer in charge for security. His relationship with the coach sparked speculation that he was the cause of a player revolt.
While Canberra players have denied going to the board over the issue, some were known to be unhappy about Furner's support for Ferguson whenever he had problems off the field.
''He really stuck up for me whenever I was in trouble and as you know I haven't had the best year off the field but I was really gutted that my name was put forward as the reason he was sacked,'' Ferguson said.
Asked if there were any lingering issues with his teammates, the 23-year-old said: ''I don't see it as a problem. I haven't seen them since Monday because they have all been down in Batemans Bay and I have been in rehab trying to get my leg good so I haven't spoken to anyone.''
However, Ferguson admitted a string of off-field incidents - including an indecent assault charge that cost him his place in Origin II - had given him a bad image and he realised after being involved with the juniors at Alexandria Rovers for the past two months that he had a responsibility as a role model.
''I have been setting a bad example but it is not going to happen any more,'' he said. ''It is going to take a lot of commitment and I am willing to do that. I think I owe it to grassroots football to do it because I know a lot of kids idolise me and I am not going to keep playing up so those kids think it's all right to do what I have been doing.''
As for his future, Ferguson said he was just focused on overcoming a hip flexor injury for Sunday's match against Manly and had been assured by caretaker coach Andrew Dunemann he would be given every opportunity to play.