THE way Blake Ferguson has treated the Raiders club, the fans and the sponsors has been diabolical.
But so far as I’m concerned, the people he has let down the most are his teammates.
When you sign on to join a football team, there’s an unspoken commitment to your teammates and a pledge to put your body on the line and to do everything physically possible to bring about victory for your team.
That’s what footy is all about; it doesn’t matter what level you’re playing, football isn’t about the individual, it’s about the team.
I played AFL football really badly for a couple of years when I was 30 and living in Coffs Harbour. I got talked into it at the Jetty Hotel, where the Norths Coffs Kangaroos tended to drink.
“Just come out and have a go, Parto,” big Blockhead pleaded and, after about seven beers, how could I refuse?
The pre-season started with one of those punishing 10km cross country runs. I turned up in runners, shorts and a complete lack of aerobic fitness. There were about 60 of us who set off on a humid January day.
After 4km and ready to pack it in, having dropped back to a distant last, something magical happened. A group of six or seven players dropped back and “carried me” the final 5km with words of encouragement and some “tough love”. I didn’t even know these guys. They didn’t know me, but because I’d turned up to play on their football team, we were all brothers.
I ended up captaining the reserves team to a grand final, but the biggest thing I got out of it was the mateship and the overwhelming reality that no player in this team was any more or less important than any other. What we did, we did together.
I know I was playing low-level amateur football, but the same concepts should apply at the professional level and for Ferguson to turn his back on his teammates at a time when they desperately needed him is, for the me, the worst thing he could have done.
Good luck to any club that signs him and good riddance from Canberra.
Mark Parton is the breakfast announcer on 2CC