Blake Ferguson is doing everything right in his bid to get back into the NSW team and he got extra advice from Blues legend Andrew Johns after his starring role in Sunday's win over the Dragons.
After Ferguson played his part in a resounding 32-18 come-from-behind win at Bankwest Stadium, he spent time talking with the Immortal in the Parramatta dressing room.
Johns is not one of NSW coach Brad Fittler's two assistants – Danny Buderus and Greg Alexander – for the 2019 Holden State of Origin series but he is a close confidant and was present at training sessions last year to help prepare players.
The barnstorming winger was overlooked by NSW in the 2018 series after playing in 2016 and 2017.
Last November, Fittler named Ferguson in his extended Blues squad after the 29-year-old played a vital role in the Sydney Roosters' premiership win. However, his Origin recall hopes plummeted after he chose to train with Parramatta during the off-season on the same day the Emerging Blues held a get-together at Homebush.
In seven outings with Parramatta, he's scored four tries, made five line breaks, and 19 tackle busts.
Get Caught Up: Round 8
Against the Dragons he scored a try during his 19 runs for 194 metres. But it was his 100 kick-return metres that would have caught the Blues selectors eyes – and they are down one winger with the hamstring injury to Tom Trbojevic.
Ferguson meets the other incumbent winger in Josh Addo-Carr at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday in the Magic Round at Suncorp Stadium.
"I don't really run at wingers but I'm looking forward to running into their [Storm] middles and testing them out," he said of relishing the thought of a little havoc around tired Melbourne forwards.
Match Highlights: Eels v Dragons
"I'll try and see what I can do there and maybe play with them there a little bit."
With only three rounds left before NSW selectors name their side for Origin I on June 5, a good showing against Storm would be handy for Ferguson.
"I've still got the competitive juices there to play it," Ferguson said.
"Obviously I just want to play some good footy, and whatever comes after that is a bonus.
"I'm happy playing for Parramatta and I'm really enjoying my footy at the moment. I have a smile on my face and life's good.
"There's a lot to look forward to about this club. We've got high hopes and they've already started."
While Ferguson scored one try, Parra's other winger, Fijian-born Maiko Sivo, scored two taking his tally to six from eight games.
"When you have wingers there that good, you just give the ball to them in a bit of space and that's massive for a team. They are special," said skipper Clint Gutherson.
"If we just keep feeding them they'll keep scoring tries."
Ferguson's flip celebration has Bankwest roaring
Gutherson has three tries in 2019, making the Eels a potent back-three. They have 13 tries between them compared with 10 to Addo-Car, Suliasi Vunivalu and Jahrome Hughes.
"I don't know anyone scares Storm," Gutherson said. "We've got a big challenge on our hands this week – they rarely lose two games in a row.
"They were disappointed in their standard against the Sharks [losing 20-18] and they'll be out to get that right this week."
Every try from Round 8