Roosters star Blake Ferguson following the bogus police call from former teammate Paul Carter over Ferguson's kids' welfare after a night of drinking. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Roosters star Blake Ferguson following the bogus police call from former teammate Paul Carter over Ferguson's kids' welfare after a night of drinking. Picture. Phil Hillyard

Why Ferguson picked Eels over cashed up rivals

BLAKE Ferguson's biological father passed away almost two weeks ago at just 46 years of age.

On Friday, Ferguson buried his dad at an emotional funeral in Townsville.

It was a tragedy he kept private from all but his closest friends because of guilt and regret.

A heartbreaking occasion that convinced the troubled NRL star to quit the Sydney Roosters for the security of a $1.5 million three-year contract at the Parramatta Eels from next season.

This was all about securing his own children a better upbringing than he had.

So they could grow up without the same painful memories of being estranged from their father.

Ferguson wanted to stay in Sydney so he could be a part of his children’s lives. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Ferguson wanted to stay in Sydney so he could be a part of his children’s lives. Picture. Phil Hillyard

The father who left him around the same age as his own children, toddlers Harlo and London.

Ferguson didn't get to know his dad as well as he would have liked.

"We started to connect a bit in my teenage years but the relationship was never really there," Ferguson told The Sunday Telegraph. "It's my biggest regret that I never allowed him into my life and now he's gone.

"And there's nothing I can do about it. It's too late.

"It's been a valuable lesson for me and my own children."

There were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his father's death.

The tragic death of Steven Lyons occurred while the former Origin and Kangaroos winger was locked in negotiations with the Roosters, Newcastle and Parramatta.

Blake Ferguson's father Steven Lyons, who passed away in June 2018.
Blake Ferguson's father Steven Lyons, who passed away in June 2018.

The Knights offered four years, the most lucrative deal and the attraction of being around his old Roosters teammates Mitchell Pearce, Connor Watson, Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Aidan Guerra.

The old Blake Ferguson would have been there in a shot. Straight to the pub and the pokies.

But now it would have meant moving away from his two little boys. Like his own dad did.

"I just didn't want to leave them in Sydney," Ferguson said. "Losing my old man convinced me of that.

"I don't want my kids growing up like I did. I want to be around them as much as I can. Nothing is more important to me and playing at Parramatta will allow me to do that."

Ferguson separated from his partner earlier this year and is now living with Anthony Mundine's parents.

Fergusoon with his son, Harlo.
Fergusoon with his son, Harlo.

He has access to his boys and treasures every precious moment he gets to spend with them.

At the park, the footy, the beach or wherever they want.

"I love them so much," Ferguson said.

No one at the Sydney Roosters wanted to see Ferguson go.

He's been a popular member of the playing group and extremely close to coach Trent Robinson and chairman Nick Politis since the club took him on in 2014 when no other team would.

"We love him," Robinson said. "Ge's a really good man who's had to deal with a lot of baggage in his life.

"I know how much his kids mean to him and his Nan, his brothers and sisters. It's very special."

Ferguson endured a brutal upbringing in Sydney, surrounded by drugs and violence as his mother, Retta, and stepfather, Michael Sutherland, battled addiction. At 13 he had stopped playing league but was saved when he moved to Wellington to live with his grandmother, Joan Sutherland.

Ferguson is desperate to remain a part of London and Harlo’s lives.
Ferguson is desperate to remain a part of London and Harlo’s lives.

He made his debut for debut for Cronulla just five years later.

The sudden death of his biological father is now a career motivation.

A tough lesson learnt in a horrible way.

After an off-season in rehab, Ferguson has not touched alcohol or gambled this year.

There is too much at stake with London and Harlo.

Robinson is so fond of his winger that he has vowed to stay close long after he walks out of Bondi Junction.

"I've honestly loved every minute with Fergs," Robinson said. "I want our relationship to continue.

"I'll always have an interest in his footy and his life, and his family.

"Parramatta paid good money for him and it's important he got some security.

"Fergs will do it on his ear. He's 28 and still trying to improve himself."

The player himself is now determined to finish the season on a positive note with the Roosters.

As happy as Ferguson has been at the Roosters, somethings are bigger than football. Picture: Brett Costello
As happy as Ferguson has been at the Roosters, somethings are bigger than football. Picture: Brett Costello

You can almost hear the resolve in his voice.

"The Roosters been such a big part of my life," Ferguson said. "I want to go out with a bang.

"Over the last 10 years I've had that many issues and so much rubbish and controversy. I want to really enjoy the next part of my career."

A premiership would be perfect. To finish a hard year on a high.

"You know what, there was one thing I did know about my father.

"He worked in the mines and he worked hard for his money.

"That's something I know we had in common.

"In footy it's the same. To be successful it's all about hard work. And I have to be for my boys."

Watch every game of every round of the 2018 NRL Telstra Premiership on FOX SPORTS. SIGN UP NOW >



Warwick one of the least polluted areas on Darling Downs

premium_icon Warwick one of the least polluted areas on Darling Downs

Rubbish Rambler reveals hot spots for dumping around town

Firefighters contain blaze on the Cunningham Highway

Firefighters contain blaze on the Cunningham Highway

A passer-by reported the fire to emergency services

Toe tapping at Akooramak as students spread festive cheer

Toe tapping at Akooramak as students spread festive cheer

Teacher inspired by her own mother's experience to embark on visit

Local Partners