Following his best NRL season to date with the Roosters in 2018 and a red-hot start to life at new club Parramatta, the calls for Blake Ferguson to be reinstated to the NSW line up are growing louder and louder.
While his form and consistency since being overlooked for selection last year has been undeniable, the way in which Ferguson has gone about promoting his own Origin agenda since then may have raised a few eyebrows from the NSW brains trust.
Since his arrival at Parramatta, Ferguson has spoken a lot about what I (he) wants to do. Regularly explaining to the tabloid’s goals along the lines of ‘I want to be a part of it’ and ‘I want to win a series’. Speaking from a selfish point of view, rather than wanting to give back to the team and organisation that supported him, he instead wants to check off an Origin series win on his list of career accomplishments.
Since taking over the reins as NSW Blues head coach following the predominantly unsuccessful reign of Laurie Daley, Brad Fittler has enacted the classic no-dickheads policy, preferring to pick a team that is just that, a team. Not based on individual aspirations or desires, rather being spurred on by a collective goal.
Fittler has made this point extremely apparent to his players since the moment he took over, according to the Sydney Morning Herald telling his Blues in their very first team meeting prior to Origin I that “If you are going to be a selfish [expletive] and act like a selfish [expletive], you’ll be out the door straight away.”
Fittler’s comments and mantra may prove to be Ferguson’s un-doing, after his seemingly polar opposite approach to a potential return to the Origin arena.
While Ferguson is undeniably one of the game’s top, if not the top winger currently, it is more than possible that his cards may well be marked as an NSW player. Following his notorious Origin eve drinking session with partner in crime Josh Dugan in Lennox Head, as well as having snubbed a Blues pre-season bonding style camp in December.
Fortunately for Ferguson, the long-term injury to Tom Trbojevic has opened a potential spot on the wing for him in the Blues previously in-pregnable back three, also consisting of superstars James Tedesco and Josh Addo-Carr. This combined with Ferguson having reached out to Fittler in the form of a phone call to explain his absence from the Blues camp in December could mean that a potential recall which was seemingly impossible only a year ago, is actually on the cards.
However, if Ferguson is to regain his coveted Blues jersey, a change of tack is desperately required. Because if he keeps driving his bargain and speaking of ‘I’, Brad Fittler has plenty of other talented wide men to pick from.