Raiders' Blake Ferguson returns to training

DAVID BARBELER
Last updated 17:42 03/07/2013
Blake Ferguson
Getty Images
BACK AT TRAINING: Blake Ferguson celebrates after scoring for the Raiders.

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NSW State of Origin I winger Blake Ferguson has returned to training with Canberra for the first time since being charged with indecent assault.

Ferguson returned to training on Wednesday with his NRL teammates as part of a joint session with their feeder club Mounties.

A Raiders official told AAP Ferguson, who was dumped from the NSW side for last Wednesday's second Origin game due to police charges brought against him, would train with the NSW Cup side during split sessions for the time being.

Ferguson is halfway through a four week rehabilitation program following the alleged incident, which took place after a drinking session with former Canberra teammate Josh Dugan on the eve of the Blues' Origin II camp.

The 23-year-old Raiders centre is due to appear in Waverley Local Court on July 16, the day before the Origin decider at ANZ Stadium.

Meanwhile, Canberra recruit Bill Tupou has revealed that Raiders legend Ruben Wiki was a major influence in his switch from the Warriors.

Almost nine years since the two-time Raiders player of the year winner left for the Warriors, he's helped convince fellow Kiwi Tupou make the opposite move.

The 23-year-old winger had played 62 games for the Warriors since debuting in 2010, but hadn't played first grade side since a round 10 thumping by Penrith.

Yet it wasn't as though Tupou performed poorly in the loss - making the most metres, linebreaks and tackle busts for his side during the match.

Feeling on the outer, Tupou was granted an early release from the Warriors and an outside back injury crisis at the Raiders combined with reassuring advice from the Warriors high performance assistant was all Tupou needed to make the move.

"Ruben Wiki was a major factor in coming," Tupou said.

"He said that he loves the club, he's been here for most of his life and said that if I needed any help around Canberra, give him a call."

There were several other incentives to move to Canberra, Tupou said, an expansive halves combination in Terry Campese and Josh McCrone just one of them.

"The Raiders are feeding their backs. I like the way they play and their halves control the game," he said.

"I'm looking to receive more ball."

Having only arrived in Canberra over the weekend, Tupou hasn't been named to play in the Raiders' home NRL clash against North Queensland on Sunday, but says he's ready to go whenever called upon.

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The Raiders are also remaining tight-lipped on rumours they are in talks with departing Penrith captain Kevin Kingston for the 2014 season.

"We don't usually comment on player signings until a deal is done," a Raiders official said.

- AAP

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