It seems the NRL’s tough stance against off field incidents is set to continue with the league putting the brakes on plans for Blake Ferguson to return to the field as soon as this weekend.
The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that the NRL will wants Blake Ferguson to complete a 4 week alcohol rehabilitation program before he returns to the field. This move has upset the Canberra Raiders who believe there are double standards in place, with Manly Sea Eagles winger David Williams allowed to play on despite facing a court date of his own. The NRL isn’t budging though!
I tend to agree with the stance the NRL has taken here. Every incident needs to be looked at individually.
We have already seen this season with Blake Ferguson that he isn’t quick to learn a lesson. After issues with alcohol earlier this year Ferguson was given an armchair ride into representative football. He was given a lot of responsibility and he handled it poorly.
His return to the game this time around needs to be slow, considered and hopefully that gives him time to reflect on his behaviour and change how he handles things the next time around.
Rugby League fans are fed up with off field issues. There needs to be a deterrent in place so that players know they won’t get forgiven so easily when they do something stupid off the field.
It isn’t always going to work. Some players simply never learn. If it just makes one or two pull their heads in though, that is at least making a difference.
It would have been a public relations disaster for the National Rugby League if they had gone soft on Ferguson. What he has been charged with is a very serious crime. The courts will decide his guilt or innocence, but either way the damage to his reputation is done.
I applaud the NRL for setting new standards. I hope their tough stance continues.
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