Ferguson Origin career could be over
Blake Ferguson has effectively put a red line through his NSW Origin career after snubbing a request from coach Brad Fittler to attend a Blues bonding session on Friday.
On a day Blues hopeful Tevita Pangai Jnr said he would've been available "even if I was having a kid" - and caught an interstate flight from Brisbane to be at NSW HQ - Ferguson refused to make the 13km drive from Parramatta training to Homebush.
The snubbing likely ends not only Ferguson's Origin career, but seven months of tension between the 28-year-old and Fittler, who refused to pick the star winger for his this year's triumphant campaign.
The decision was seen as a response to both Ferguson and Josh Dugan breaking team protocol a year earlier, when they downed beers at the Lennox Point Hotel only days out from Origin III.
Yet while the omission seemed a given in many quarters, Ferguson was not only surprised when overlooked but expressed "disappointment" at having not received a phone call from Fittler to explain the axing.
Then speaking with The Sunday Telegraph last week, the Parramatta recruit was unusually coy when asked about an Origin return on the back of his outstanding year with the Roosters, eventual NRL premiers.
"Obviously I've got to make a decision there," he said. "I'm the one that plays footy and I thought I played pretty good last year.
"It's up to them, it's up to me."
On Friday, Ferguson made his choice.
Quizzed on the decision, and if it put red line through Ferguson's name, Fittler said: "There's 26 players in there that I'm really excited to go have a chat with. Everything is taken into consideration."
Certainly Ferguson's decision was in stark contrast to that of rising Brisbane forward Pangai Jnr, who recently switched allegiances from Tonga to become a Blue.
Asked about his chances of missing the session, the young Bronco laughed: "If I was having a kid today I probably would've missed that".
Fittler, meanwhile, also admitted he had not seen Ferguson's recent comments about a potential Origin snubbing.
"I haven't kept up with what Blake's thinking," he said. "But he was asked to come today and he decided to train with Parramatta, for whatever reason.
"He's at a new club, new environment, maybe he's just doing what ever he can for them.
"We wish him all the best.
"His year with the Roosters this season was awesome. I don't know if anyone has done his role as well as he did.
"He played like a front rower, played like winger, scored tries, stopped them … really impressive season, on the back on the back of a really impressive club I have to say.
"He's now got to do it at a club that didn't do as good a job last year."
Speaking with Triple M after his initial axing in June, Ferguson admitted to being " a little bit disappointed" after missing selection in a Blues outfit boasting 11 changes.
Asked if Fittler had revealed his decision for going with Melbourne flyer Josh Addo-Carr, the flanker continued: "No phone call mate … I'm pretty disappointed about that one."
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