Blake Ferguson sacked by Japenese union club after alleged drug arrest

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Just a week out from the start of the League One season of Japanese rugby, NEC Green Rockets new signing Blake Ferguson has been sacked by the club after an arrest in Japan on allegations of drug possession.

Local media reported that Ferguson, 31, was involved in an altercation in a restaurant within the Roppongi region of Tokyo, where police were called. He was later searched at the police station nearby and allegedly found with drugs on his person. A Japanese media report suggests this substance was cocaine.

His new club, NEC Green Rockets Tokatsu, released a statement on Sunday confirming they were aware of his arrest.

"Blake Ferguson, a contract player belonging to NEC Green Rockets Tokatsu, was arrested on December 30 on suspicion of possessing illegal drugs.

"We deeply apologise for causing a great deal of concern and inconvenience to everyone involved.

"Our team fully cooperates with the police investigation and strives to understand the situation."

Drug possession normally carries heavy penalties in Japanese jurisdictions, suggesting Ferguson's new career may already be in significant jeopardy.

Update: on Monday 3 January, Green Rockets released a further statement, confirming Ferguson's contract with the club was cancelled a day earlier.

"Regarding Ferguson, the player contract was cancelled on January 2nd,".

Blake Ferguson's rollercoaster NRL career kicked off at Cronulla in 2009, before he moved to Canberra in 2011. After a year away from the NRL in 2014, Ferguson returned and spent four seasons at the Roosters, where he was a premiership winner in 2018.

From there, Ferguson moved to Parramatta, where he came off contract at the end of 2021, before signing a contract to switch to Japanese rugby in October.

He also represented the Indigenous All Stars on five occasions between 2010 and 2020, along with 9 NSW Origin caps from 2013-2019.