Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler has finally broken the ice with Parramatta Eels winger Blake Ferguson but not before reinforcing his position that all things will be taken into consideration when he chooses his team for the State of Origin series this season.
Fittler told nswrl.com.au on his weekly segment Five with Freddy he had called Ferguson after the Eels winger reached out recently and said he was keen to talk to the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach after burning a bridge last season.
Ferguson was chosen in a 32-man extended Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues squad on the back of a standout season with his former NRL club, the Sydney Roosters, last year but snubbed it after being overlooked for the 2018 State of Origin series.
“I’ve spoken to Blake since then and basically just spoke about keep doing what you’re doing,” Fittler said.
“When we pick our side everything is considered, simple as that, and what goes on between Blake and I on the phone is going to stay between us.
“But what he’s doing for Parramatta at the moment is fantastic, for the team, for the fans. Rugby League is good when Parramatta are going good, they’ve got such a huge fan base.”
Ferguson had an outstanding season in the Roosters premiership-winning team last year and either topped or was near the top of the table for most of the key statistics including run metres (1st, 5400), runs (1st, 546), line breaks (equal 2nd, 20), and tries (5th, 18).
The jury was out on whether Ferguson could back up his heroics in 2019 after making the switch to wooden spooners Parramatta but he was quick to dispel those with a dominant performance against Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs where he scored two tries, set up another and ran for 298 metres.
“He was outstanding, just running metres, getting them out of trouble, he’s sort of inspiring their whole team, he’s changed the way they play,” Fittler said.
“They were a bit like this two years ago and he just adds a little bit of topping Blake. Yeah, (he was) outstanding on the weekend.”
“Wingers save tries, they’re making tries, they bring the ball out of trouble, they are crucial. Those days of the thing you don’t pay wingers is (changed to) you pay them the most.”