Fergo: I’ll be an Eel leader

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SPORT - MATT LOGUE

BLAKE Fer­gu­son wants to make two things clear.

Firstly, he hasn’t joined Par­ra­matta to be the new Semi Radradra.

“Oh no, Semi is a beast,” Fer­gu­son grinned.

But don’t fret Eels fans — Fer­gu­son means busi­ness be­cause he in­sists he has be­come a leader thanks to the men­tor­ship of Cooper Cronk.

Asked how in­flu­en­tial his for­mer Roost­ers team­mate has been, he replied: “Heaps. Cooper knew I was a bit loose, so he has been good for me.

“I took a lot out of last year with him, more so than pre­vi­ous years when I met him play­ing to­gether for Aus­tralia.

“Maybe I was ready to learn and I was ma­ture enough to ac­tu­ally take in in­for­ma­tion.

“But Cooper has been awe­some for me. He has done it all, so I’m try­ing to learn as much as I can from peo­ple re­gard­less of their stature in the game.”

Be­ing a role model was a ma­jor rea­son why Fer­gu­son de­cided to join the club on a three-year deal.

Af­ter learn­ing from some of the best lead­ers in the busi- ness at the Roost­ers, he feels like he is ready to take the next step as a se­nior player.

“I want to make the play­ers around me bet­ter,” he said.

“Brad (Arthur) and I spoke about that in our first meet­ing. It was about com­ing here and try­ing to lead the younger guys in our top squad.

“Some of the guys have only played a hand­ful of games, so for me it is about giv­ing them some of my knowl­edge over the past 10 years and try and make them bet­ter peo­ple and play­ers.

“It is also about giv­ing the Eels some­thing they needed, which is some­thing out of the back field and a bit of ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Fer­gu­son has only been at Par­ra­matta for a week but he has al­ready made an im­pact.

Eels prop Te­pai Mo­eroa be­lieves the for­mer Rooster can have a Radradra-type in­flu­ence on the Eels with his tough car­ries com­ing out of trou­ble.

“We’ve def­i­nitely missed that – Semi was one of a kind,” Mo­eroa said. “He’d catch the ball on our try line and run 100 me­tres.

“But Fergo does the same sort of thing. He takes those tough car­ries and he is re­ally strong.

“He is also re­ally pos­i­tive and it is just with the lit­tle things. The ball will go left at train­ing and he’ll tell you to keep push­ing over be­cause you never know when a break might come.

“I think that just comes with ex­pe­ri­ence. He has played with the best and he knows the game re­ally well.”

Par­ra­matta coach Brad Arthur has also been im­pressed with Fer­gu­son’s first week in Eels’ colours.

“You can al­ready see the qual­ity that he brings to the team around his foot­ball,” Arthur said.

“But it is also his en­thu­si­asm and talk.”

Main pic­ture: Ben­jamin Cuevas

Par­ra­matta’s Blake Fer­gu­son at train­ing.

Par­ra­matta’s five grades hard at train­ing.

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