Parramatta's Ferguson says he's stepped up

Blake Ferguson says he's feeling better mentally at the Eels than when he was at the Roosters.
Blake Ferguson says he's feeling better mentally at the Eels than when he was at the Roosters.

Blake Ferguson has fired a shot across the rest of the NRL, declaring he's gone to another level this year.

Ferguson's words weren't without foundation after he fired Parramatta to a 36-16 dismantling of Canterbury on Sunday.

Playing in front of NSW coach Brad Fittler, he put on two tries, set up another and ran for 272 metres in a performance which will put him back in the Blues selection frame.

After becoming the third player to run for 5000 metres in a season and playing a crucial hand in the Sydney Roosters' premiership last year, the question hanging over the ex-NSW and Australian winger was whether he could maintain his standard of excellence.

Asked if he felt he was playing better than last year, he said: "Probably. I'm better mentally I think.

"I know what my role is within this team. It's taken me a while to juggle both on and off the field. I feel like everything's going alright.

"I'm just enjoying footy and my home life is pretty good. I'm just enjoying life."

Ferguson will come up against the Sydney Roosters, a club he credited with turning around his life, for the first time on Friday night.

While he played down what the clash meant to him, he acknowledged that Tri-Colours coach Trent Robinson had changed the way he played the game.

"I was a lot looser when I played football, more about percentages and he just simplified the game for me," Ferguson said.

"I also learnt other people's positions, I became a really good listener and I could take in things without him having to tell me. I've been able to teach the guys here a lot of what I learnt at the Roosters."

After the Eels finished 16th last year, Ferguson's influence on the blue and golds has been palpable in the opening two rounds.

Ferguson said he hadn't felt a cultural shock going from the premiers to the wooden spooners, saying they were better last year than many gave them credit for.

"I feel like this team was very unlucky last year, things just didn't go their way," Ferguson said.

"What they did the year before was pretty good (when they finished fourth).

"Last year was too many chiefs. We've got the right balance, we've got guys that have grown after another year, some young guys there, it's a good mix.

"We can't get complacent and think it's going to happen like that. We've got to keep recreating what we created in this game."

Australian Associated Press