Canberra Raiders’ players Blake Ferguson and Sandor Earl are very close friends. So much so, that supposedly they have ‘Dorguson’ tattooed on them in a ‘Brangelina’ style name merger. With that being the case, it has not been a good week for Dorguson, for very differing reasons, but with their relationship being so close I figured I would tackle both of them in one article.
Firstly the challenge that is Blake Ferguson. You know Blake is a problem when despite his obvious footballing talents, the fans of both clubs he has played for now despise him, as Sharks fans hate him for how he left citing he wanted to play for a title contending team, and then left to the Raiders who at the time were no better than the Sharks.
Raiders’ fans now hate him for how much of a problem he has been off the field and the lack of respect he has shown the club in trying to leave, as if it isn’t his own fault he is in this situation. I am not going to spend the time writing out all of Blake Ferguson’s incidents and troubles because the list is too long, but at the end of the day they mostly come down to attitude, immaturity and alcohol.
With David Furner now sacked as coach of Canberra and Ferguson’s contract giving him an out due to that fact kicking in after the season, it is expected he will leave the club and most likely move back to Sydney, with numerous clubs being linked with him. Funnily enough, one of the clubs heavily linked with him are the Sharks, who definitely could use him on the field, but their fans would have to swallow a lot of pride to accept him back.
The question is, is Blake Ferguson worth signing? In the short term the answer is almost definitely yes, given he clearly is a super talented player and only 23 years old. My Rabbitohs are another team rumoured to be sniffing around him, as if we could use a player at any position it would be a strike outside back. As a fan of a club rumoured to be after him I am conflicted about signing him.
Half of me wants nothing to do with a player that has had countless chances, is facing a sexual assault related charge, just got done speeding with a suspended licence whilst being AWOL from his club and is overall completely unreliable and could cause much more trouble than he is worth, especially when the club doesn’t really need him.
The other half of me thinks that his talent is clearly obvious, he is fixable in the right environment and that he could grow up soon. Plus if there is any NRL club with the environment to help him, the Rabbitohs would arguably be it for several reasons. First and foremost the club under Michael Maguire has a very strong culture with players who keep each other in line and don’t tolerate the sorts of things Ferguson has been doing. Regardless of talent players are treated the same as evidenced by veteran Nathan Merritt being stood down for a week during preseason for sleeping in late. Secondly the club has a strong Indigenous culture both inside the playing group (Inglis, Merritt etc.) as well as in the community. If Blake Ferguson can be saved, Souths could be the best place for him.
The problem with the above sentence is the word ‘could’. I am still not convinced he is worth it, given it is possible he could destabilise a club that is successful without him. If the club do happen to sign him, I will welcome him and look forward to seeing him on the field, but I won’t fully embrace him until he earns our trust. I will always be waiting for the news that he is in trouble and has been stood down, suspended or even had his contract torn up.
Whoever does sign him is taking a massive risk and I hope for the sake of the NRL as well as Blake personally that he rewards them for taking that risk and gets his shit together.
That brings me to Sandor Earl. Obviously I have to be very careful what I say about this case as there is a lot we don’t know and a lot still to come out. What we do know is that Earl has now admitted he took as well as trafficked an illegal peptide and is going to be banned for it. If he gives up all the information he has then he might have his sentence reduced.
The news here is not the fact he took the peptide. At the end of the day Sandor Earl isn’t a huge name and he had been linked to the scandal for a while now. The news is the fact that he was supplying others with the peptide as well. I read elsewhere that other players haven’t been linked to his supplying, but I’m sure there is a lot more to come out.
Either way it is good to see the NRL and ASADA finally catch someone in the NRL, especially someone linked to Stephen Dank and I hope it is the start of them actually taking action against those they have evidence against as well as leading them towards evidence against those they can’t yet prove did it.
This saga has been going on long enough now that we need to start seeing action beyond a few accusations against clubs or players. The Sharks situation needs to be dealt with soon, whether that is taking action or dropping the charges (I can’t see the latter happening) and I’m sure there are other clubs and players being looked into.
If nothing else, I hope this saga has scared players into not only not deliberately cheating, but also into being more diligent about what goes into their body, regardless of who suggests it to them. Whilst I feel sorry for any player that took an illegal substance on the advice of someone they legitimately believed they should be able to trust and might have a legal recourse because of that, they still should do their own research into things to know what they are putting into their body.
The specific peptide Sandor Earl has been done for is actually a bit scary. There are reports linking it cancer and also how experimental it is. Is a football career even worth that?
For now however, Sandor Earl’s footy career, not just here but even his French rugby career he was supposed to be embarking on, is on hold. What happens to Blake Ferguson however is still very much up in the air. The 2012 glory days of Dorguson feel like a lifetime ago and both Earl and Ferguson may one day be viewed as a cautionary tale.