His season has been a mix of ‘rocks and diamonds’ but Canberra winger Blake Ferguson says he won’t be changing his flashy style after leading the Raiders to a season-saving upset of Melbourne last weekend.
Ferguson was criticised for a series of costly errors earlier in the year – none more so than a bizarre dropped ball with no defenders anywhere near him that allowed the Gold Coast to steal an unlikely win in Round 4.
But after scoring a spectacular solo try to secure victory against Melbourne last Saturday night, the 21-year-old said he would continue to back himself when the Raiders host Canterbury in tonight’s blockbuster.
“I think I’ve been playing pretty good overall,” Ferguson told NRL.com. “Some people might say that I make too many errors but the only reason I make some errors is because I back myself. I run out a bit, because I back myself.
“But it doesn’t really bother me what people think.
“I don’t really read what the media says and even when people tell me, I just say, ‘Yeah okay’ and keep going.
“I’m a pretty confident kid which you can probably tell from what I say so yeah, I’ll keep backing myself.
“Even when I had a few bad games earlier in the year I stayed confident because I knew what I could do and I knew that I could be consistent during the year.”
Ferguson currently tops the NRL for most errors in 2011 with 19 from 10 games – equal with Sydney Roosters winger Joseph Leilua – but insisted he could cut down on his error rate without compromising his attacking flair.
“That’s one thing I’ve really been trying to do because I’ve been guilty of making too many mistakes,” he said.
“But I still want to play my game and that’s what happened last week. I was pretty happy with [the try] and it was just a quick decision to back myself, to be honest.”
The Raiders have been one of the season’s great disappointments so far this season after promising so much during their stunning run into the finals last year.
Having thrashed Cronulla 40-12 in Round 1, they proceeded to lose their next eight games but last week’s shock win against the Storm has given them a glimmer of hope that another finals berth isn’t yet out of the question in 2011.
“There is a lot of talent in the squad but we’ve just got to turn up for the games,” Ferguson said. “That’s what we’ve been doing wrong this year – we would train well all week and then just not turn up – make too many errors.
“We can’t afford to do that anymore. We need to play like we did last week, every week. If we do that the points will come because we do have a really good roster. We’ve got players that aren’t playing at the moment that are first grade players.”
Despite Canberra’s woes this season, Ferguson said he had no regrets about his decision to leave the Sharks in search of ‘greener’ pastures.
“I’m just glad to be playing for Canberra and to be honest it’s an awesome club – there is nothing bad about it at all,” he said.
“They were great helping me and my girlfriend to settle in down here and I’ve really enjoyed my time here so far.”
Late NRL news:
• The Raiders will be without back-rower Danny Galea (hamstring) when the face Canterbury tonight. Joe Picker has been named as his replacement.
• Newcastle have some injury concerns heading into Sunday’s clash with the Sydney Roosters, with Shannon McDonnell and Junior Sa’u both in doubt with shoulder and ankle injuries respectively. Winger Keith Lulia has been named to replace NSW rep Akuila Uate.
• South Sydney will welcome back forward Dave Taylor for Sunday’s clash with the Warriors after he was named as 18th man for Queensland in State of Origin I.