Anthony Mundine, left, with cousin Blake Ferguson. Photo: Brendon Thorne
Anthony Mundine has implored Blake Ferguson to face the music and appear before the Canberra Raiders board later this week, insisting he needs to repay the respect the club has afforded him.
Ferguson has not been sighted at the club since he left for Sydney on August 24, giving the club no option but to stand him down without pay. The Raiders board has given the wayward centre an ultimatum to explain his erratic behaviour in person or face the sack.
Ferguson is due to appear in court in Sydney on Tuesday to answer an indecent-assault charge after an alleged incident involving a young woman in the lead-up to Origin II.
His mentor Mundine said he would not accompany Ferguson to his court hearing, and a Raiders spokesman said the club would not send a representative.
Mundine has spoken with Raiders chief executive Don Furner but could not guarantee Ferguson would show up for the compulsory meeting with the board.
The boxer arrived back in Sydney on Tuesday after a whirlwind trip to the US to promote his bout with Shane Mosley.
Mundine said he expected Ferguson to visit him on Tuesday night, where he intended to advise him to meet with the Raiders board. ''Yeah, I think he should. He should do the right thing,'' Mundine said. ''I've spoken to Don and I'm expecting Blake to speak to him in the next few days.
''Don's given him a lot of respect and for Blake to be given that respect, he has to respect him. Don wants to see how he's going in terms of his mindset, nothing related to football.''
Mundine refused to rule out Ferguson staying at the Raiders, but his exit to a Sydney club to be closer to family appears a formality. The 23-year-old signed a two-year deal in May, but can walk after Raiders coach David Furner was sacked.
''It depends, everyone knows he has a get-out clause in his contract if Dave was to be released,'' Mundine said. ''It's a matter of getting the best deal.''
Ferguson has lost the support of many Raiders teammates after he opted to be in Sydney instead of watching his teammates while injured for the past two matches.
He found more trouble last week when he was fined for speeding with a suspended licence.
''He'll be all right. At the moment all eyes on are him,'' Mundine said. ''He's under that much scrutiny, it's hard to leave the house.
''I think it [off season] will be good, he won't have those pressures on him.
''Mentally he can get his mind back fresh, and where it needs to be to get ready for a big year next year.''
While some have called for his deregistration, league great and NRL ambassador Petero Civoniceva said Ferguson must put his welfare first, even if it means a hiatus from football.
''First and foremost, the players' welfare is of utmost importance,'' Civoniceva said.
''Football will wait until he gets his life back on track, I'm sure the NRL will do the right thing and ensure he has those support networks in place.
''The last thing we want to see happen is for him to come back into the code when he's not ready to.''
Mundine also refused to quash rumours Ferguson has been asked to appear on the undercard for his Mosley bout in Sydney on October 23.
‘‘You never know what’s going to happen, we’ll see what happens,’’ he said.