“Yeah, I do want to be a part of it,” Ferguson said. “Over the break in December I wasn’t really sure, that’s why I didn’t go to the NSW (training camp).
“I didn’t want to put myself in an environment where I didn’t feel like I belonged. Obviously I wanted to work hard with my teammates, they’d been back at training for two or three weeks and I wanted to get to know my teammates as well.
“Now I’m definitely keen to play both sides of footy there, for NSW and Australia, if I get an opportunity this year. Hopefully I’m playing good enough footy to be picked and anything can happen.”
Ferguson has been on the outer with NSWRL powerbrokers after he and former Raiders teammate Josh Dugan spent an afternoon at the Lennox Point Hotel five days before the 2017 Origin decider.
Despite last year’s heroics – he ran for 4862 metres at an average of 203 metres per game – Ferguson was overlooked for representative honours. He is hoping to be in the selection frame if he can reproduce that form for the Eels.
“I spoke with my manager yesterday about trying to catch up with Freddie,” he said.
“I wasn’t able to do it today because of training, but maybe we can try to catch up next week.
“It’s not going to harm my football at all. I feel I can deal with stuff like this and play good footy on the weekend.
“I’m a bit older now and feel I can still have conversations about other things and still be able to focus on Parramatta Eels. We’ll try to meet up next week to have a chat about things, clear the air.”
Ferguson informed Blues officials via email that he wouldn’t be attending the December camp, but next week will be the first time he gets to personally explain to Fittler his reasons for the snub. The Eels winger admits missing out on the Blues side hurt at the time.
“I was pretty disappointed not to get picked last year, to be honest,” he said. “It played a part – it made me play better because I had a chip on my shoulder.
“I was actually enjoying not being in and out of camps and that sort of stuff. I’m in the right headspace this year to give it a shot and see what happens.
“Obviously it’s the selectors’ decision. I’ll do everything in my power to stake my claims and hopefully win the series if I get an opportunity.”
Ferguson has added 6kg of muscle to his playing weight from last season and is up to about 107kg without losing his trademark speed.
“If anything it has probably helped me carry a bit,” he said.
“More weight going through the tackles. I am running at front rowers. I don’t choose to run at hookers. I would rather run at the big guys. I would rather make their forwards tired.”
Adrian Proszenko is the Chief Rugby League Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.