Fallen NRL star Blake Ferguson has been handed a two-year good behaviour bond for grabbing a woman’s crotch in a dimly-lit Sydney pub.
Ferguson was found guilty in December of indecently assaulting the woman during a night out at Cronulla’s 2230 Bar, where he was celebrating his NSW origin selection with teammate Josh Dugan.
Defence lawyer Adam Houda told Sutherland Local Court on Monday the former Canberra Raiders player’s public fall from grace was punishment enough.
Ferguson’s turns on the sports field catapulted him from a troubled childhood to a ‘‘world of celebrity’’ but his lucrative career was now in tatters and his reputation ‘‘savaged’’, he said.
‘‘Football was his only way out of the gutter,’’ Mr Houda said.
‘‘To lose your only source of livelihood - in the hundreds of thousands - and to be humiliated is punishment enough.’’
Boxer Anthony Mundine was in court to support his young mate.
Magistrate Jacqueline Trad said it was ‘‘naive’’ for anyone in the public eye to expect to escape scrutiny after committing an unprovoked assault.
‘‘There was nothing in this situation that could be considered that it was in any way provoked,’’ she said.
‘‘There’s no excuse, there is no circumstance where it could be appropriate to cross that line, whether or not it’s caused by intoxication or whether or not it’s caused by past difficulties.’’