In-form Roosters winger Blake Ferguson was hoping to have his future settled by the time the Origin period commenced but now says the end of the series is a more likely time-line – with his preferred option to stay at Bondi.
Under coach Trent Robinson the once-troubled ex-Raider and ex-Shark has flourished, putting his days of misbehaviour behind him and finding balance both on and off the field with two children to wife Bianca and nailing down spots in the Kangaroos and NSW teams.
The 2018 arrival of Wests Tigers star James Tedesco will make things tight if the Roosters want to keep as much of their star-studded backline as possible but Ferguson hopes there will be room for him at Bondi past 2017.
"I don't know to be honest," the 27-year-old said of his playing future from NSW Origin camp at Kingsliff on Wednesday.
"I want to stay at the Roosters but I'm keeping my options open. At the end of the day I've got to look after my family. I know it's probably going to be one of my last contracts.
"I don't want to leave the Roosters, it would be sad to leave but I want to stay."
He remained hopeful he and the Roosters could continue to show loyalty to each other.
"I love the club and what they've done. The office is fantastic so I've got to weigh up a few things but I definitely want to stay," he added.
Asked how likely that is, Ferguson hinted there had been developments but wasn't prepared to reveal anything until something was signed.
"I've got a fair idea but I'm going to keep that to myself," he said.
"My manager [Sam Ayoub] is doing a pretty good job behind the scenes so I haven't really worried about it because I know that it's going to happen. When it happens it's going to be a decision I'll make and it's going to be the right one.
"I said I wanted to do it before the Origin series, now it's probably going to be mid to end [of the series].
"I'm not worried about it. It's not something that's taking a toll on me. I don't worry about that stuff. I just let Sam do his work and try and get me the best deal possible."
On how much interest he had attracted from other clubs, Ferguson said he didn't want to worry too much about that because it could affect his on-field performances.
"When I do start worrying about it, it'll show on the footy field and I'll play [bad] footy. So I just let it go. It's footy. It's what happens. You have to sign deals and come off contract. It's the way it is," he said.
Ferguson said Tedesco would be a good acquisition for the Roosters and hoped he'd be there next year to form a combination with his current NSW teammate.
"It's just going to make [the club] stronger so hopefully I get the opportunity to stay and build a combination that we've built in the Origin arena and build it at club level," Ferguson said.
"I like that Teddy is coming to our club. He's going to be good for us."
Ferguson had a patchy start to the season after missing most of the pre-season but has hit form of late, playing well for the Kangaroos in the Anzac Test and running amok against the Eels with a hat-trick a fortnight ago.
"I didn't have much pre-season… I feel like I've been hitting good form [recently]," he said.
"I've simplified my role at the Roosters. Hopefully I can bring that into the Origin arena and have a big performance next week for the lads."