Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson has declared Blake Ferguson is ready to end his 22-month self-inflicted rugby league exile when the tricolours kick off their NRL premiership campaign in two weeks.
Ferguson enjoyed his first top grade hitout in almost two years in the Roosters 36-6 win over Manly at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday night.
The former NSW winger looked understandably rusty at times but carried the ball with vigour and defended strongly, enough to suggest to Robinson he is ready for the Roosters’ round one clash with North Queensland.
“He played almost the whole game bar the final couple of minutes because of a slight ankle complaint but he had some nice, physical carries and also his defence was quite physical too,” Robinson said.
“He had some nice combinations with Mitchell Pearce and Shaun Kenny-Dowall there so that was good and I’d say it was a good step up from his game with Wyong a fortnight ago and now he’s ready for the big one.”
Ferguson played his first game since 2013 two weeks ago in a Roosters’ lower grade trial and Robinson said he was progressing as well as he had hoped.
“I think definitely after 18 months of not playing, it’s a big ask for him to get straight back into footy and I think he’s had two games where he’s done really well coming back into,” Robinson said.
“He’s always had class but it’s a matter of ‘is he going to combine well, is he going to run well, how is his timing?’ and all that so I think he’s had a fair start to his return.
“People will say his footy will get better as the year goes on but I think he’s really well-placed to start the season well.”