Reborn Sydney Roosters star Blake Ferguson has declared his desire to be the club’s long-term fullback ahead of wonderkid Latrell Mitchell.
Mitchell, who has been compared to Greg Inglis, has been earmarked as the team’s future No.1 but will debut in the centres in Sunday’s season-opener against arch rivals South Sydney.
But ahead of his first NRL start at fullback, Ferguson has told the rookie to earn the spot.
“I do see (fullback) as my long-term position. It’s up to Latrell to really take the position,” he said on Saturday.
“For me it’s playing as good as I can and as consistent as I can each week to stay in the No.1.”
The 25-year-old Ferguson made a strong first impression as custodian in the side’s World Club Series flogging of St Helens a fortnight ago, and is eager to show his wares back home.
The former NSW representative has spent most of the summer loading up on his fitness to be able to handle the extra workload in the backfield, but ensured he didn’t lose his trademark power.
“I haven’t had to change too much in the way that I play. It’s just more physical stuff,” he said.
“I wouldn’t know the right amount (of running), but it’s well above what I did last year.
“I didn’t trim down at all. Maybe I’m a couple of kilos lighter, but I’m still as strong.”
Mitchell, who is just 20, also showed why he’s considered a star of the future with an eye-catching outing at the Auckland Nines, then backing it up in England.
Ferguson said he could see why many have already compared him to Australian and Queensland representative Inglis and that it would be fun for Mitchell to face off against the Rabbitohs fullback on debut.
“But it’s his first game first and foremost, for him just to get out there and really focus on himself. It’ll be fun to watch, but I think it’ll just be a good game all round,” he said.