NRL Player Blake Ferguson Dumped From State Of Origin Team After Assault Charges
National Rugby League CEO DAVE SMITH's crusade to clean up the game continued last night after New South Wales winger BLAKE FERGUSON "was dumped from the State of Origin team and had his registration suspended following an indecent assault charge for allegedly groping a woman," according to Honeysett & McDonald of THE AUSTRALIAN. Ferguson's punishment capped a tumultuous day for the code, "which started when the Blues headed into camp amid whispers he had been involved in an incident" with NSW teammate JOSH DUGAN (THE AUSTRALIAN, 6/18). In Sydney, Brad Walter wrote Smith announced the disciplinary action against Ferguson after he was charged by police, and said that "no decision would be made on when the Canberra star could play again until more details were known." Smith: "The fans do not want to see the game tarnished and neither do the players. It's time for people to understand that the game isn't going to accept this sort of behavior" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 6/18). In a separate article, Walter wrote one member of the NSW coaching staff, reading the back page of Monday's Herald at the team hotel said, "From booze brothers to Blues brothers. I suppose tomorrow's headline will say 'And back to booze brothers again.'" The good news stories about the redemption of Dugan and Ferguson "after their well-documented roof-top drinking session in Canberra at the start of the season have been put on hold -- possibly forever" (SMH, 6/18).