Raiders delighted at securing Ferguson - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Raiders delighted at securing Ferguson

By Ian McCullough 27/08/2010 06:58:52 PM Comments (0)

Perennial NRL poor relations Canberra believe the signing of exciting young Cronulla back Blake Ferguson is a sign the club's no longer struggling to attract players.

Ferguson became the Raiders' second high-profile signing in recent weeks, following the decision by Melbourne and NSW prop Brett White to head to the nation's capital for the 2011 season.

The 21-year-old, who represented the Indigenous All-Stars in the inaugural NRL All-Stars match on the Gold Coast earlier this year, had been widely expected to join the Sydney Roosters.

Ferguson angered Sharks coach Shane Flanagan last month after invoking a clause in his contract that allowed him to leave if Ricky Stuart departed the club.

However, Raiders chief executive Don Furner said he expected no problems from Ferguson, who was keen to move to Canberra to get out of the limelight of Sydney and play in the young, talented backline.

Furner also admitted he was surprised Ferguson had become available as he expected him to sign for the Roosters, who have already secured the services of Canberra centre Justin Carney next year.

"When we lost Justin we were not too sure who was going to come onto the market," Furner told AAP.

"We thought Blake was going to go to the Roosters, but once we heard he was available we spent a fair bit of time with his manager, and it helped that he knew some of the guys down here such as Travis Wadell from the Indigenous All Stars."

Furner said having Josh Dugan, Terry Campese and State of Origin stars David Shillington and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs in the side helped change perceptions about the club.

"Without a doubt it is still hard to attract players down here, but this is a good young team that is capable of making the top four in the next couple of years," Furner said.

"Players want to play outside Campese who gives outside backs good early ball and Brett (White) was very keen to play alongside Shillington, Learoyd-Lahrs and Dane Tilse.

"It is also a good place to play footy, there are not as many distractions as there are in Sydney, it is a good environment for young players and that appealed to Blake and we are really happy to get him over the line."

Ferguson said he was excited about the future and looking forward to hooking up with his new teammates.

"The Raiders are a young team on the rise and have some very talented players and I'm keen to be a part of this team moving forward," Ferguson said.

"I like the idea of playing for Canberra in a one team town and I have also got some family close by who are very supportive of my decision to play for the Raiders."

Learoyd-Lahrs was also delighted by the news of Ferguson arrival.

"It is really good that we have got young Blake as he will offer us a lot in attack and things are really looking up down here," Learoyd-Lahrs told AAP.

"Whitey is obviously very experienced as well and coming from a side that has been involved in a grand final, his influence and experience will be vital and it is a big boost for the side."

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