Blake Ferguson, a former Kangaroos and NSW Blues winger, has been fired by his Japanese club without playing a match.
The 31-year-old, who left the NRL after the 2021 campaign after failing to land another contract with the Parramatta Eels, received his marching orders three days after being arrested for alleged cocaine possession in Tokyo.
Ferguson was arrested in the early hours after a felony misdemeanor at a Tokyo restaurant in Roppongi on December 30. He could be behind bars for weeks, even months, given Japan’s zero-tolerance stance towards drugs.
It is alleged that Ferguson, who had ambitions to one day play for the Wallabies, hit a customer at a restaurant in Tokyo’s red light district and police officers found cocaine in the scoring machine.
In just 10 words, the NEC Green Rockets, who have former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika as their rugby director, updated their statement and confirmed that Ferguson had been fired.
“Regarding Ferugson, the player’s contract was canceled on January 2,” the club confirmed in a statement on January 3.
Ferguson’s agent, Sam Ayoub, did not return calls.
The Herald revealed that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was providing consular assistance to the Australian.
Drug possession charges for substances such as cocaine can carry prison terms of up to five years in Japan, although suspended sentences are also common.
The Top League was closed for a month during the 2020 season after a series of drug-related charges against players.
New Zealander Steven Yates received a two-year suspended prison sentence for possession of cocaine and looted by Toyota Verblitz. Another Verblitz player, Ryota Kabashima, also faced a prison sentence.
Ferguson’s firing will not sit well with Cheika for two reasons.
The former Wallabies coach was instrumental in hiring Ferguson as the club’s DOR.
A former Australian representative also had to apologize on behalf of Cheika’s Wallabies during 2019 for his behavior.
That apology was separated from the fight between Cheika and former Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle at the Australian Embassy in Tokyo also during the campaign.
It is not yet known where his career continues.
You won’t get a contract in Australian rugby, but your best chance is to find a deal in the French Top 14 or PRO D2 competitions.
Wallaby Izaia Perese managed to secure a deal with Bayonne shortly after being fired by the Brisbane Broncos for drug use.
His move to the Top 14 paved the way for Perese’s return to Australian rugby, where the talented running back made his Wallabies debut against Scotland in his first year back in code.