Simona ready for Ferguson challenge
Wests Tigers centre Tim Simona is under no illusion regarding the size of the challenge his side faces against a red-hot Roosters outfit this Friday night, nor about the size of the challenge that awaits him personally in the shape of rejuvenated centre Blake Ferguson.
Ferguson has slotted into the right-edge attack in Trent Robinson's team beautifully since returning from a foot injury that sidelined him for 10 weeks and ended his hopes of an unlikely return to the Origin arena in 2015.
When Ferguson damaged the ligaments in his right foot against former club Canberra he was ahead of where many expected him to be after four games and was looking like an astute purchase for the Bondi club.
Some advanced treatment in the US fast-tracked his recovery and Ferguson returned against the Warriors in Round 14; while scratchy, he also scored the late match-winning try and hasn't looked back since.
He gave the Warriors a fresh set of nightmares in his side's 24-0 win at Allianz Stadium last Sunday, running more than 200 metres for the second successive week and scoring a powerful solo try, on his way to 13 tackle breaks in his past two games.
This weekend Ferguson will face off against talented Wests Tigers left centre Tim Simona – himself one of the most promising young outside backs in the competition and a Samoan international.
"He's a big boy, that's all I know, so it's going to be a big task. But we'll do some video and see where we can work on his weaknesses," Simona said on Wednesday in reference to the towering Roosters three-quarter.
At 103 kilograms and 192 centimetres, Ferguson has a healthy size advantage over the 92 kilogram, 183 centimetre Simona, and the Wests Tigers player – who has never faced Ferguson before – knows it will be tricky trying to shut down the one-time Origin winger.
"I've never played him but he's a big boy so I've just got to be on my game and hopefully try and limit the touches he gets," Simona said.
Simona wouldn't have been watching Ferguson carve up the Warriors last Sunday as he was preparing to run out against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium, but it probably wouldn't have made much difference – he sheepishly admits he doesn't watch footy outside of club video sessions.
"To be honest, I don't even watch footy. Outside footy, once footy's over I just chill out and try and get my head out of footy. From what I've heard, [Ferguson] is a good player and he's going to be a huge task for me. But I'll be up for it," he said.
Simona is no stranger to going up against quality centres though, having marked Kangaroos and Maroons centre Justin Hodges just last week, and says he always relishes the big challenges, naming Maroons pair Hodges and Will Chambers from the Storm as two of the toughest to handle.
"From my experience, one of the hardest centres I've played against was the one on the weekend – Justin Hodges. He's just unpredictable, and he's always hard to handle."
Meanwhile Chambers is also one of the best he's faced, he added, and facing players like them and Ferguson is the best way to benchmark yourself as a player.
"I actually do some video and look at what I can improve on in my game and where I can get better. They're two of the best centres in the competition and I really look up to them," he said.