Code hopper Blake Ferguson's hopes of creating a rugby union legacy have come crashing down with a cocaine-related arrest in Japan.
The veteran league wing, a renowned figure over a 249-game NRL career, allegedly punched a man in a restaurant. He was then taken to the Azabu police station and allegedly found to be in in possession of cocaine, according to Japanese media reports.
The 31-year-old former Kangaroo had joined the NEC Green Rockets Tokatsu after playing for the Sharks, Raiders, Roosters and Eels in the NRL.
His Japan Top League club – whose rugby director is former Wallaby coach Michael Cheika – put out a statement apologising for "causing a great deal of concern and inconvenience to everyone involved."
"Blake Ferguson, a contract player belonging to NEC Green Rockets Tokatsu, was arrested on December 30 on suspicion of possessing illegal drugs.
"Our team fully cooperates with the police investigation and strives to understand the situation."
Japan typically takes a hard-line approach to drugs within its judicial system with possession charges for the likes of cocaine extending to prison sentences of up to five years. However, it is also common for judges to hand down suspended sentences. In 2019, former New Zealand player Steven Yates was handed a suspended two-year prison sentence for cocaine possession, after prosecutors had sought a 30-month jail sentence.
Ferguson's outstanding league career included nine games for New South Wales and seven tests for the Kangaroos but there were off-field controversies, and it was also revealed he battled a gambling addiction.
There were suggestions that Ferguson might shape as a Wallaby prospect after joining the union ranks when the Parramatta Eels decided to not re-sign him.
Ferguson told the Triple M radio station last year: "I feel like I've achieved everything, I don't really have to achieve too much more in the NRL.
"Rugby is something that I do want to try. I played it as a schoolkid - it would be good to try and switch codes and try and create a legacy in that arena."