Eels winger Blake Ferguson says there are no hard feelings over his non-selection for NSW, throwing his support behind the new right-side combination of Josh Morris and Nick Cotric.
Young Raiders winger Cotric was eventually preferred for the right wing spot that Ferguson was making a compelling case for over a sensational first eight rounds.
However eight handling errors through three successive losses for the Eels to the Storm, Cowboys and Panthers – including four in the poor round 11 loss just three days before the team was announced – appear to have cost him the spot.
NSW adviser Greg Alexander revealed on Fox League Ferguson was "absolutely" in the frame for a recall.
"Fergo's form last year and the opening five or six rounds, Fergo was going to be the right winger," Alexander said.
"But his form dipped a bit and he started to make some errors."
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Ferguson said that from his own point of view he was happy to just be playing footy regardless of which jersey it was in, whether it was Origin or reserve grade – but had only glowing reports for the team that was selected.
"I'm just happy playing footy to be honest – at the end of the day it's their decision," Ferguson told NRL.com.
"They're the guys that sit at the table and make those decisions and I wish them all the best in game one. No matter what I still support the Blues.
"I hold that jersey very close to my heart so I really hope they go out and beat Queensland this Wednesday. I'm really excited to watch guys like Cotric and it will be good to see JMoz back in the team.
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"He hasn't played for nearly three years but he's been playing real good footy and he's a very good defender and I played with him there.
"I'm just looking forward to hopefully seeing the boys get the job done there and hopefully beat them in game one. Honestly if they win, I'm so happy, I'm a New South Welshman through and through.
"I'm just happy playing football regardless of where it is. If I was playing for Wenty I'd be happy. Regardless of where I'm playing I'm happy, as long as I'm playing footy."
Ferguson was also relieved to have put in a much stronger performance both personally and team-wise after a forgettable night against the Panthers in round 11, including his first try since the win over the Dragons in round eight.
"I was just happy to get a win to be honest, it's been rough over the last three weeks," he said.
"We haven't performed at our best and finally put a grinding game together. You've got to win ugly sometimes to stop the rot and I thought we did that tonight.
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"Last week was awful. We just made far too many errors. This week we completed at almost 80%, thereabouts you give yourselves a chance to win it and in the key moments there we stood tall."
Ferguson said it wasn't so much one or two players leading the turnaround with the whole team lifting compared to previous weeks.
"In the NRL if you want to beat the good teams and be thereabouts at the end of the year everyone needs to play good," he said.
"Everyone needs to have an 8/10 performance from 1-17 and tonight, it was a bit scrappy here and there but when the big moments came that's when our big names starting showing their talent and why they're in the team.