Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Blake Ferguson’s future in the NRL has been up in the air ever since he was told by the Parramatta Eels his services would be no longer needed beyond 2021 before the commencement of the season.
The 31-year-old didn’t gain any interest from other NRL clubs throughout the season, but did from Rugby Union, with Super Rugby side the Western Force confirming their interest months ago and speculation that he was set to take up a deal in Japanese Rugby.
It seems the latter has occurred as Christy Doran from Fox Sports is reporting that Ferguson is set to sign with Japanese Rugby club the NEC Green Rockets who are in the competition’s top division.
“NRL try-scoring machine Blake Ferguson is on the cusp of taking his career to the Land of the Rising Sun,” said Doran.
“Foxsports.com.au can reveal Ferguson will join former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, who is the director of rugby at NEC Green Rockets in the Japan Top League.
Blake Ferguson is set to join former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika in a cross-code switch ✍😮
— Fox League (@FOXNRL) October 26, 2021
“Ferguson’s management is expected to get the paperwork to confirm his deal within the next 24 hours.
“Ferguson joins the Rockets, who struggled last season and finished at the bottom of the Top League.
“He will link up with Cheika, who was the coach that oversaw Israel Folau’s rise as one of the most dominant rugby players in the world.
“Cheika took over the Waratahs ahead of the 2013 season and one of his first dealings was convincing Folau to join him.”
On top of his role at the NEC Green Rockets, Cheika is also currently the head coach of the Lebanon Rugby League national team, who will take part in next year’s Rugby League World Cup against New Zealand, Ireland and newcomers Jamaica in the group stage.
As for the Parramatta Eels, they will continue to invest in up and coming winger Haze Dunster, as he embarks on his first full season in the NRL next year, with Maika Sivo returning from injury to form a duo that the Eels will hope is lethal.
Ferguson on the other hand will be hoping to turn the NEC Green Rockets fortunes around.