Infotainment Factory: Johns backs Fergo over Blues flyer

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Thursday, 21 March 2019

Johns backs Fergo over Blues flyer


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NSW legend Andrew Johns has backed Blake Ferguson to sensationally regain the Blues jersey he lost last year after the Eels recruit revealed his plan to clear the air with coach Brad Fittler.

Taking the reins of a side that had been battered by Queensland for over a decade, Fittler made no bones about a change in selection policy that was strongly guided by the players' character, not just their talent.

Despite having a sensational 2018 at club level, Ferguson was one of the most high profile victims of Fittler's 'no dickhead policy', which led to the selection of young stars Tom Trbojevic and Josh Addo-Carr on the flanks for a new-look side that broke the Maroons' stranglehold on the prestigious interstate series.

Fittler has publicly declared that he will give the incumbents from that side every opportunity to retain their place, so long as their form is strong in the early stages of the season.

Despite this promise, Johns has put Addo-Carr on notice, saying the Storm flyer is at risk of losing his place to the contrite Ferguson.

"I think he will be picked if he stays injury free and his form stays the same, he just gets the sets rolling forward," Johns told Wide World of Sports' Immortal Behaviour.

"He's probably nearly more important than a front-rower, especially at that level in State of Origin.

"He'd be playing and running up to 20 times out of dummy half, last year he made the most metres out of any player by a country mile.

"If he keeps his form up he definitely will be there somewhere. Which side he plays, and who he gets in front of ... Turbo Tommy (Trbojevic) was the best player for NSW last year, so I think Josh Addo-Carr may be under pressure there."

In an interview for The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, Ferguson left no doubt about his desire to return to the representative scenes, saying he was "keen to play for NSW and Australia if I get my opportunity".

It's an about-face of sorts after Ferguson snubbed a pre-Christmas gathering called by Fittler for potential NSW players, choosing instead to train with his new club the Eels.

“I spoke with my manager about trying to catch up with Freddie,” Ferguson told The Daily Telegraph three days after his starring role in the Eels’ Round 1 upset of Penrith.

“I wasn’t able to do it today because of training, but we’ll try to meet up next week and have a chat about things … clear the air.”

Ferguson went on to explain why he had chosen not to meet with the NSW side before Christmas - a decision that seemed at the time to forever put a black mark next to his name at the selection table.

“Over the break in December I wasn’t really sure, that’s why I didn’t go to the NSW (training camp)," Ferguson said.

"I didn’t want to put myself in an environment where I didn’t feel like I belonged.

“Obviously I also wanted to work hard with my (Eels) teammates, they’d been back at training for two or three weeks and I wanted to get to know them as well.

“Now I’m definitely keen to play for NSW and Australia if I get an opportunity.”

To watch the full episode of Immortal Behaviour, click on the video below!

Ferguson will be picked for Origin: Immortal Behaviour

Asked if he would apologise for brushing Fittler’s December get together, Ferguson was cautious in his response.

“We sent an email back to him saying I wasn’t going to go because I had commitments here at the Eels and hadn’t been at training for two weeks,” Ferguson said.

“Obviously that (will be broached) at the meeting next week when we catch up and have a chat. That’s what meetings are for, to have chats.”

Whether that meeting will in fact eventuate is still to be determined after Fittler told Macquarie Sports Radio earlier this week that he hadn't yet heard from Ferguson.

“Had no idea about that mate but Blake’s got my number," Fittler said when asked about Ferguson's willingness to clear the air.

"I’m sure if he wants to have a chat he can give me a call."

Given Johns and Fittler share a close relationship, the Eighth Immortal's comments may indicate that the coach is willing to give Ferguson a lifeline should he take the appropriate steps to return to the fold.

For now though, it's nothing more than a warning to Addo-Carr to continue to grow and make himself indispensable to Fittler and the Blues.

NSW legend Andrew Johns has backed Blake Ferguson to sensationally regain the Blues jersey he lost last year after the Eels recruit revealed his plan to clear the air with coach Brad Fittler.

Taking the reins of a side that had been battered by Queensland for over a decade, Fittler made no bones about a change in selection policy that was strongly guided by the players' character, not just their talent.

Despite having a sensational 2018 at club level, Ferguson was one of the most high profile victims of Fittler's 'no dickhead policy', which led to the selection of young stars Tom Trbojevic and Josh Addo-Carr on the flanks for a new-look side that broke the Maroons' stranglehold on the prestigious interstate series.

Fittler has publicly declared that he will give the incumbents from that side every opportunity to retain their place, so long as their form is strong in the early stages of the season.

Despite this promise, Johns has put Addo-Carr on notice, saying the Storm flyer is at risk of losing his place to the contrite Ferguson.

"I think he will be picked if he stays injury free and his form stays the same, he just gets the sets rolling forward," Johns told Wide World of Sports' Immortal Behaviour.

"He's probably nearly more important than a front-rower, especially at that level in State of Origin.

"He'd be playing and running up to 20 times out of dummy half, last year he made the most metres out of any player by a country mile.

"If he keeps his form up he definitely will be there somewhere. Which side he plays, and who he gets in front of ... Turbo Tommy (Trbojevic) was the best player for NSW last year, so I think Josh Addo-Carr may be under pressure there."

In an interview for The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, Ferguson left no doubt about his desire to return to the representative scenes, saying he was "keen to play for NSW and Australia if I get my opportunity".

It's an about-face of sorts after Ferguson snubbed a pre-Christmas gathering called by Fittler for potential NSW players, choosing instead to train with his new club the Eels.

“I spoke with my manager about trying to catch up with Freddie,” Ferguson told The Daily Telegraph three days after his starring role in the Eels’ Round 1 upset of Penrith.

“I wasn’t able to do it today because of training, but we’ll try to meet up next week and have a chat about things … clear the air.”

Ferguson went on to explain why he had chosen not to meet with the NSW side before Christmas - a decision that seemed at the time to forever put a black mark next to his name at the selection table.

“Over the break in December I wasn’t really sure, that’s why I didn’t go to the NSW (training camp)," Ferguson said.

"I didn’t want to put myself in an environment where I didn’t feel like I belonged.

“Obviously I also wanted to work hard with my (Eels) teammates, they’d been back at training for two or three weeks and I wanted to get to know them as well.

“Now I’m definitely keen to play for NSW and Australia if I get an opportunity.”

To watch the full episode of Immortal Behaviour, click on the video below!

Ferguson will be picked for Origin: Immortal Behaviour

Asked if he would apologise for brushing Fittler’s December get together, Ferguson was cautious in his response.

“We sent an email back to him saying I wasn’t going to go because I had commitments here at the Eels and hadn’t been at training for two weeks,” Ferguson said.

“Obviously that (will be broached) at the meeting next week when we catch up and have a chat. That’s what meetings are for, to have chats.”

Whether that meeting will in fact eventuate is still to be determined after Fittler told Macquarie Sports Radio earlier this week that he hadn't yet heard from Ferguson.

“Had no idea about that mate but Blake’s got my number," Fittler said when asked about Ferguson's willingness to clear the air.

"I’m sure if he wants to have a chat he can give me a call."

Given Johns and Fittler share a close relationship, the Eighth Immortal's comments may indicate that the coach is willing to give Ferguson a lifeline should he take the appropriate steps to return to the fold.

For now though, it's nothing more than a warning to Addo-Carr to continue to grow and make himself indispensable to Fittler and the Blues.

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