https://www.sportingnews.com/au/league/news/blake-ferguson-parramatta-eels-nrl-2020-rugby-league-peter-sterling-george-jennings-semi-finals-grand-final/1x9ocq9jbct7c1vti2wcg2vo5j

 

Blake Ferguson, on his day, is the best winger in the NRL.

The 30-year old possesses size, power, athleticism and skill that not many others have - it's why he is the incumbent NSW Blues winger.

But in 2020, his form has ranged from decent to poor.

MORE: Matterson praised by rival players

It's somewhat surprising, with the Eels many experts' tip to take out the title this year, that their only State of Origin player would drop off the way he has.

 

In 17 games this season, Ferguson has scored just one try. That's obviously not a stat that any winger wants, and it has attracted plenty of attention.

Speaking on WWOS' Sterlo's Wrap, Eels legend Peter Sterling questioned the form of Ferguson and admitted the veteran was on 'shaky ground' to retain his spot in the finals.

“It’s a tough question. The last thing you want to be doing is dropping a State of Origin winger a couple of weeks out from finals," he said.

"But he is on shaky ground – his form hasn’t been good for a while now. We made a bit of a joke about him not scoring a try and finally that drought was broken last week.

"But it’s the other areas of the game where he hasn’t been as effective as what we have seen in the past and what we expect."

Ferguson has always been fantastic out of his own end, but does have the tendency to come up with an error. Those are forgiveable when he is coming up with four-pointers, but he isn't right now.

 

Sterling highlighted some moments in the loss to Penrith on Friday night that were somewhat concerning - especially for an experienced campaigner.

"Looking back at this game, Mitchell Moses gave him a serve because he wasn’t in the right position to chase a kick," he said.

"If you look at the 40/20 kick from Nathan Cleary, the effort to get back wasn’t great. He has looked suspect under the high ball at times.

"He is part of that right edge problem defence, and I still think his combination with Waqa Blake is way off the mark."

But is Ferguson's spot really in danger?

According to Sterling, he doesn't believe head coach Brad Arthur will make such a big call this close to finals - but the form of George Jennings on loan for the Warriors has been impressive.

"The guy who would be looked at to come in if there was to be a chance would be George Jennings, who has done a pretty good job for the Warriors," he said.

"I don’t think Brad will make that change, but I think Blake Ferguson has got to show the kind of form that has got him a Blues jersey on a number of occasions.

"He needs to convert that to the blue and gold jersey this week and in the coming weeks, and to be a dominant player."

Parramatta play the Broncos and Tigers in the final two weeks of the regular season, and if they are to go into the finals with some renewed momentum, Ferguson will need to be a big part of that.

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  • Fergo is as good as any. Shame he is not given decent ball and space. Not the problem. 

  • Other than Gutherson the entire team is down on form. They all look very tired to me. Not sure if it's just a mental thing or what but they look sluggish.

    Let's hope they crank it up a notch heading into the finals.

    To be fair to Fergo he's basically carried a knee injury for the entire season

    • https://www.parraeels.com.au/news/2020/09/11/match-highlights-panth...

       

      Ignore the no try but have a look at the clip to see what eels player stood still next to the riff scorer (2nd try) and his and two other eels defending against the riff who scored the last try and who he pushed away.

      Match Highlights: Panthers v Eels - Eels
      The Panthers host the Eels during Round 18 of the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership
      • Sorry colin but I am in a bit of a morphine fog today and cannot see what you are talking about with the 2nd try.

        As for the last try Luai stepped Matto, Junior and Brown who imo were so exhausted they could not get their feet moving.

        Luai is elusive at the best of times and personally I am not going to bag any of those players for not being able to stop him. - You know I am harsh so give these toilers a break.

        • 2nd try was scored next to posts, Gutho was standing to the right of the riff scorer, virtually never moved from his in goal position esxcept raising his head a bit looking at the sky, (was he thinking it was falling in?) the last try was as bad with a kid pushing him onto his back on the ground, with NB around the Riffs legs & another eel down behind him.

          I doubt I have ever seen Gutho so out of the game as he showed in those two tries, NB's effort also was not good either.  

          So reflecting on that game, I don't believe we were ever going to win it, first time this year in my tipping comp I gave the eels a win by 1 point, only because I will not tip against the eels no matter what, I did not believe they would win while hoping the opposite.

          The game was a wake up call for the team if they want to go further this year, not sure how far that will be unless there are some changed attitudes by a couple of players. not necessarily Gutho though.

          • Gee-bloody-zuz mate.

            2 Panthers and Eels jumping for the ball and you are bagging Gutho for watching and NOT doing what exactly?

            Was he supposed to catch Martin in the air and hold him up? That would have been a penalty against him.

            I may be doped up mate but I am not comlpetely non compus.

            As for the last try I would say Gutho was at fault for his Girly Grab at the ball and not wrapping up Luai, ball and all, a la Billy Slater on Tony Carrol.

            65 minutes out of 80 spent defending and you are saying the team was flat.

            I was wondering where my grumpy pills disappeared to, now I know.

            The inabilty of this team to change tack when things are going against them is the biggest flaw they have had for sometime, and imo that comes down to the coach.

            They cannot wrest control of a game back once they start getting owned.

             

            • Fair rebound Mushy, but for me when I look at the replay, I see the captain and fullback as last line of defence in that position, there was one other eel who went over on his face with Gutho just standing there, amazed or gob smaked or something.  The sorrow is that overall I saw the eels put up a pretty good, if not one of the best defensive games from them this year, a loss is a loss but poor reads at the death knock ends of the game has created a huge amount of flack and damage to a team that did not deserve that scoreline loss.

  • Should be playing centre in attack at times. He's prob set up

    his winger for a fair few with his skill set.

  • Even tho fergo didn't go to well in the centres last year for those few games the better coaches woulda def given him another go prob bout a month ago. His skill set is being wasted on the wing. Even more so being outside that Waqa.

  • The whole team has deterioted except the fullback. B.A. coaching is outdated and does not have the ability to lift his team when it mattered the most when he cannot  match the important teams

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