After plying his trade to rave reviews in the English Championship, former Kangaroos winger Blake Ferguson is returning to group six rugby league to play for the Thirlmere-Tahmoor Roosters.
The 2018 premiership winner began last season with the town in the Macarthur region before moving on to Championship side Leigh Centurions, in the second grade to the Super League.
Ferguson enjoyed a strong season for Leigh, scoring 21 tries across 17 games and successfully achieving promotion back into the Super League. The 32 year-old was set to see out his contract until the end of 2024, however the winger recently asked for release on compassionate grounds, which was granted by Leigh.
His head coach from the Championship, Adrian Lam, added some insight into what brought the fiery winger back home when speaking to local outlet the Leigh Journal.
“There has been a health issue in the family and Blake feels he wants to be there,” Lam told the publication.
“So, we have released him on compassionate grounds. He really wanted to be there with his family.
“It was important for him and also to his indigenous culture. As a club we supported him in that.
“There is no ‘is he coming back, or is he not?' He has just been granted permission to get back for his immediate family.
“Our hearts are with him and we support him. We understand where Blake is coming from. He was desperate to get home”.
Returning to Thirlmere is another leg in a rollercoaster ride through Rugby League for Ferguson, who is often considered a controversial figure.
He played for four NRL clubs from his debut in 2009, including the Cronulla Sharks, Canberra Raiders, Sydney Roosters, and the Parramatta Eels leaving each with positive and negative stories about his impact.
Ferguson then found his way to Japanese Rugby just before his first stint with Thirlmere but was released by the NEC Green Rockets after being charged with possessing cocaine, and being detained for weeks in a Japanese jail.
The group six competition begins on the 26th of March.