Wayward winger put on a six-week alcohol ban after his return from suspension.
Canberra Raiders coach David Furner said he recalled Blake Ferguson to first grade after he met with the leadership group at the club and pledged to turn around his tarnished image.
Ferguson caused a stir in the nation’s capital when both he and Josh Dugan appeared on social media website Twitter breaching the club’s policy on drinking alcohol while injured.
Ferguson missed the Raiders round two game against the Gold Coast through suspension while Dugan was sacked by the club.
Furner said while Ferguson was brought back into the side after just a week, he knows he is on his last chance.
Judging how he spoke to the group about alcohol, he knows that (this is his final chance) and so does the group,” Furner told News.com.au.
“It’s a show of character and he needs to show that commitment to the team. He is prepared to do it. If he does then it will help his game on the field as well.”
Ferguson was scheduled to play in the Raiders’ feeder side before round two and was not named by Furner mid-week.
But the six-week alcohol ban plus other measures impressed officials at the club enough to overturn his ban quicker than expected.
“I spoke to the CPR group (Canberra Players Representatives), which is the heart of our club. I wanted to know their thoughts and they all wanted him to play,” Furner said.
“They were impressed he imposed some crucial things on himself, without going into detail, which will give him stability on the field and off it. He is going through some counselling which he is heavily into.”
Furner also spoke about Dugan’s sacking saying he did not buy into the culture at the Raiders, with his termination sending a clear message to the rest of the squad.
“What he didn’t understand was how important the team was,” he said.
“The best way to answer it was that he out-grew our culture. It didn’t suit in the end. I hope he gets things on track, he is a good player. There isn’t any bad blood there.”
The combined decisions to bring back Ferguson and get rid of Dugan paid immediate dividends for the Raiders, as they blew the St George Illawarra Dragons away in the second half to easily win their round three clash 30-17.