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Ferguson desperate to fly away with win in Roosters swansong

The dancing feet and brute strength of Blake Ferguson showed their full potential in the 12-4 win over the Rabbitohs but now he meets another winger who flirts the sideline with the best of them in Josh Addo-Carr in Sunday's NRL grand final.

Ferguson's 48th-minute try was something to behold as he waited expectantly for a short offload from Roosters centre Joseph Manu.

With seemingly no worry about how close his right foot was to the sideline, Ferguson swerved around two defenders and dragged another with him as he twisted his body to plant the ball down with his right hand.

"Joey has been playing some pretty good footy this year so you've just to be aware of his flick pass," Ferguson said.

"It half caught me by surprise but I managed to stay in there. The replay was good because then I knew I'd put the ball down."

Of Ferguson's 18 tries in the 2018 Telstra Premiership, it was one of the better ones. And as his time with the Roosters is now 80 minutes away, scoring points should be the sweetest tribute.

Blake Ferguson with Joseph Manu.
Blake Ferguson with Joseph Manu. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

But Ferguson would like to be remembered as a defensive winger, not just a finisher.

"I'd rather save tries than score them," he said after helping bustle South Sydney out of Saturday's preliminary final.

"We have so many good players in our team we get put into positions to score them but I'd rather save them."

Ferguson may well get what he wished for as his opponent in Sunday's grand final at ANZ Stadium will be Addo-Carr, who has racked up 17 tries for Melbourne this year.

Surprisingly, Addo-Carr has not scored since the round-21 win over the Rabbitohs, whereas Ferguson has crossed for four in that time.

If Addo-Carr isn't scoring, he is setting them up. Few will forget his full-paced chip kick inside for a charging Cheyse Blair in the 74th minute to level scores at 28-28 in the qualifying final against the Rabbitohs two weeks ago. Cameron Munster iced the win with a field goal.

"They are a quality team and I guess we'll have our hands full. But I'm sure we'll get the job done," was Ferguson's reply to he and Manu marking Addo-Carr and Curtis Scott.

Manu has proven himself equally competent in attack and defence. He has made 41 tackles in the two playoff wins over the Sharks and the Rabbitohs and missed only three. He also scored against the Sharks and set up Ferguson against Souths.

Ferguson powers over

"He's going good. He's evolved over the years and was unlucky to miss out on the finals series last year," Ferguson said.

"He's my roomie and I knew the pre-season he had this year was based on missing last year."

Manu stood up strongly as the team carried an injured Cooper Cronk, combining with Mitch Aubusson on that right edge to take the tackling pressure off their No.7.

Ferguson said it wasn't a distraction knowing that Cronk was playing well below his capacity.

"Not at all. I know the character of him and he'd do anything for the team. He was still tackling so it wasn't like he was missing a lot."

In actual fact, Cronk only made 10 tackles the whole game and missed four.

But Ferguson has other things on his mind. After four years with the Bondi Junction club, he is heading west to the Parramatta Eels in 2019.

The 28-year-old was not a part of the Roosters' 2013 premiership – that was the year Canberra sacked him for repeated behavioural issues. Roosters chairman Nick Politis picked him up in 2015.

"He's been a big part of my career and gave me a second chance," Ferguson said.

"I'll go hard next week and try to bring the trophy home."

 

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