Ferguson a Rooster for love, not money
He was an Origin representative in search of redemption but Blake Ferguson says it was the size of Roosters supremo Nick Politis's heart – and not his bank balance – that convinced him to become a Rooster.
Having signed a two-year contract extension in August that will keep the reformed bad boy in Bondi until at least the end of the 2017 season, most of the focus on Ferguson in the pre-season will centre on whether he can make the move to succeed Roger Tuivasa-Sheck at fullback.
With good friend Josh Dugan entrenched as the Blues' Origin No.1 it would appear on the surface to be a move that could jeopardise his dreams of adding to his lone State of Origin appearance in 2013, a game he cites as his career highlight to date.
But in an extensive interview on Denan Kemp's podcast, The Locker Room, Ferguson revealed the true reason that he wanted to become a Rooster in the first place was the care shown for him by 'The Godfather'.
"The way that he spoke to me wasn't about money or nothing – I couldn't give a crap about money to be honest, money doesn't make me happy," Ferguson told The Locker Room.
"It was just about being shown some love and compassion and loyalty that no one else had.
"No other club had reached out to me at all but this guy who is a wealthy man looked at me and told me he was going to look after me and just showed me some care.
"It wasn't even about football. It was about helping me as a person and then it all turned into football.
"When I did sign the contract [to return to the NRL in 2015] there were certain clauses in there but that wasn't really a big deal for me because I knew before I even saw the contract and the clauses in the contract that I was never going to play up again because I didn't want to lose it again.
"I'd worked so hard for a year and a half to even just be training with a team and it was a roller-coaster where some days you'd think, Is this ever going to end? Is there going to be light at the end of the tunnel?
"Then as soon as I signed on the dotted line, that day was just the best feeling. I'd signed plenty of contracts before then but signing that one..."
Ferguson and his partner Bianca recently became the proud parents of a baby boy whom they named Harlo but he says that the sense of family stretches not only at home but throughout the football club.
It is a star-studded roster with a proud history that is second on the line of betting to be crowned premiers in 2016 but after 18 months at the club Ferguson said it is a club built on love and devoid of ego.
"I won't bad-mouth my old clubs but this club, what they do inside the club, they make you feel like everyone is equal," Ferguson said.
"At some places there is a hierarchy but at the Roosters it's just all about love.
"We all bind to the same goal and our goal each year is to win a comp. There are no ifs, buts or anything about it.
"I feel really privileged to be playing in this team. No one is higher than anyone in our team, everyone's equal and everyone has a voice.
"[Roosters coach Trent Robinson] has got a philosophy that's different to many people, the way that he treats his players.
"He's a people person so he doesn't talk about football all the time. We'll talk about family and how things are going at home, the conversations aren't all about football. We have real conversations.
"Most footy clubs have fake conversation and no one is being real. At our club everyone's real, they have real conversations."