Canberra coach David Furner is refusing to guarantee Blake Ferguson a saloon passage back into first grade after the controversial Raiders back took his first steps on the comeback trail on Saturday.
Ferguson scored a try playing for Mounties in the NSW Cup, just days after the NRL gave him the all-clear to resume playing, before making the trip to Wollongong to watch the Raiders beat St George Illawarra 22-18.
The freakishly talented centre was suspended by the league following a late-night drinking session with former teammate Josh Dugan on the eve of their entry into the NSW camp for Origin II.
Ferguson was charge with assault the next day following an incident with a female patron during the night out - with the matter still before the courts.
He scored a try on his return to the field on Saturday, but with his side having won three on the trot, Furner said Ferguson would not necessarily walk back into the side.
"He hasn't really trained with the side, four or five weeks he hasn't really had the footy in his hands," Furner said of the decision to play Ferguson in the NSW Cup.
"Watching the team the last couple of weeks they've been playing some good football and I thought tonight Joel Thompson ... gee he did a good job.
"That was a 17-man effort there.
"Fergo needed to play some sort of footy."
Pressed on whether Ferguson would be back in the side for next week's match-up with premiers Melbourne, Furner said:
"I'm not going to say yes, I'm not going to say no."
Ferguson was in Furner's ear as the pair made their way back to their positions after the halftime break, and it is clear an update on his performance with Mounties was a topic of conversation.
"If you ask Fergo he went really well," Furner said of Ferguson effort with their feeder side.
"(But) with a team making an effort like that and playing good football, you've just got to have a look at the big picture."
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