I can’t help watching the Blake Ferguson soap opera with a mixture of humour and concern.
Clearly there are issues concealed beneath the surface that are more complex than we can imagine, or maybe that’s being too ‘new age’, and in days gone by far more colourful expressions would have been used to describe his character.
Regardless, the fact that these issues are bubbling to the surface in such a crass, disrespectful, self-indulgent manner completely overshadow the abundance of natural talent that ranks him with the game’s greats when he is focused.
Seemingly lost on him is the fact that fans generally (and not necessarily Raiders or Sharks) want him to succeed. The want to support him in the same they wanted to support his mentor, but were driven away, and the rift never closed. Rugby league always wants to forgive … for anything, it seems. It’s one of the Dr’s golden rules, and it’s true!
They want to see his skills on show in the same way they want to see a chap by the name of Sonny Bill Williams make otherwise excellent players look like mere chumps when on the same field as him. I know I do.
Coming back to play against the Knights a couple of months ago was mesmerising, making a guy like Timana Tahu look slower than James Diaz.
However, the behaviour dished out in the past few weeks – feigning injury (IMO), no shows, not attending team matches, and culminating in going MIA and refusing to take calls from his employer – is a blue ribbon case of biting the hand that feeds you. I just don’t know where he gets the idea this is a good thing.
Consider that Blake Ferguson already has a get-out clause in his contract. He doesn’t need to go AWOL. He doesn’t need to break a contract, or even invent a case of ‘compassionate grounds’ in doing so. He’s free to go in a couple of weeks!
In this way, he is different to other ‘unexpected’ cases (such as Milford or Barba), simply because his leaving must have been in the Raiders’ contingency planning. I mean, surely … They’ve been looking to punt Furner for a while, and it is but a hop and a skip to the conclusion that Fergo might also leave. The unexpected cases are another issue and another blog, but chief among those issues is that teams prepare a roster based on a set number of players being available for a predetermined amount of time – and not shorter.
Most people in the real world would say that he has made a gross error of judgement (or his advice has been poor), and that honouring a contract, even playing the final few games in a team a team that apparently doesn’t want him there, says a whole lot more about ‘character’ than skipping town and responsibilities.
At this point, the ‘brand’ has been tarnished almost beyond repair, and the character vs contract equation might just rule him out of the NRL for a while. But we are a forgiving lot, and never forget it …
Given the needless fiasco unfolding currently, the NRL might well deregister him for a time, and they should. If good help is what he needs, then let’s move away from the old canard that ‘his therapy includes playing rugby league’.
In the meantime, let’s have a musical interlude – a reworking or REM’s ‘Drive’ – in honour of our absent friend. Take it away, Michael Stipe::
Smack, crack, check the tatts
I’m lookin’ over a few contracts, yolo
Hey kids, Canberra’s a hole
Friggin’ roundabouts are outta control!, baby
What if I hide? Don’t answer your call
Send a SWAT team, I’m 10 feet tall
Tick-tock, I’m-a …. what rhymes with tock?
Watch me hang, wit da man
Tho’ I’m not too fussed with his booze ban, baby
Hey you, let me cop a feel
Then I gonna slide in behind the wheel, yolo
Gonna find out what this pedal’s for
Driver’s licence is op-shun-al, baby
Ethics schmethics, take the piss
What? You sayin’ I didn’t need a release?
Think I’ll drive, but first another bourbon
Where’s the other half of the Dorgeson?, baby
What’s that sign, what’s it say?
Speed limit huh! Don’t apply to me
Fergy, Fergy, Fergy
Fergy, Fergy in come free, baby
Team mates don’t like me, but can I can I do?
Think I need a club wit a bit more blue, baby
Smack, crack, hello six-pack!
Yo honey, you sure you don’t want a crack?, baby
I’m hot to trot and a bit of a tease
But can’t seem to find any good groupies, baby
Gettin’ pretty hungry for a pub food meal
I could murder a steak, or a piece of veal
Whan I’m finished wit dat gonna have a roast
Hear there are good’uns on the Central Coast, baby
Had a few too many, but don’t call a cab
Gimme the keys I’m breaking bad, baby
Hey, ho, Blake’s passing out, yo
But not before my favourite show, Spongebob, Spongebob, Spongebob