Rowdy Ferguson reforms enough for NSW Origin selection
TWO months ago, Raiders centre Blake Ferguson was hit with a $10,000 fine, stood down indefinitely and ordered to undergo counselling after a drinking session on the roof of a Canberra home with then teammate Josh Dugan.
In announcing the penalties, Raiders CEO Don Furner said Ferguson would not be selected "until he has shown progress in a number of areas".
As it turned out, the 23-year-old spent just one week in the NSW Cup, earning a recall after a sobering conversation about his future with a group of senior players including club captain and Queensland prop David Shillington.
Speaking to reporters yesterday after his fairytale Origin selection for New South Wales, Ferguson said a phone call from Blues coach Laurie Daley had also helped him get back on track.
"He told me to pull my head in I guess," Ferguson said.
"My family also helped me through it ... and I have counsellors who look after me."
Ferguson also talked about how he cried after learning of his selection in the team for Origin I at ANZ Stadium next Wednesday night.
"A little bit of tears ... the teammates that I was with were pretty excited," he said. "A few of my teammates were crying so it was pretty good.
"It means the world to me. I think it means the world to every New South Welshman to play in a Blues jumper."
Chosen ahead of South Sydney winger Nathan Merrett because Daley wanted a bigger player to combat the size and strength of Queensland juggernaut Greg Inglis, Ferguson said he would not change the attacking way he played for the Raiders on the big stage.
"I'm just going to play this Origin game like I play every other game ... hard and tough," he said.