Melbourne Storm beatable, says re-signed Sydney Roosters winger Blake Ferguson
Sydney Roosters and State of Origin winger Blake Ferguson has finally signed a new one-year contract with the club and declared Saturday's opponents Melbourne are very much beatable.
The second-placed Roosters flew out of Sydney on Thursday afternoon having put behind them a deflating visit to Manly last Sunday. With the ladder-leading Storm awaiting them at AAMI Park they needed to.
Aside from a defeat to Parramatta last month when they were without Queensland Origin stars Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater and Cameron Munster, Craig Bellamy's imposing side has not lost since being pipped by two points by the Gold Coast in round 10.
It is no wonder that they are overwhelming title favourites but Ferguson is adamant the task is not insurmountable.
"I think everyone is beatable. We showed that last week," he said. "We were in some good form and got knocked back down to earth I guess. We're starting from ground zero again."
The 27-year-old revealed he had now signed a new contract with the Roosters. The tenure of the deal, keeping him at Moore Park until the end of 2018, is not as long as he might have hoped, but after the controversy over his trip to a Lennox Head pub during the last Origin training camp he is happy to have his immediate future sorted.
"I'm ready to go next year. I'm happy with it. It's very exciting," Ferguson said. "I think it was already sorted earlier this year. It just needed to get the finer details done. And we finally got it done the last couple of weeks."
The Roosters will be missing winger Daniel Tupou, whose season is in doubt after tearing a groin against the Sea Eagles, but in a significant boost welcome back co-captains Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend from injury layoffs.
Five-eighth Luke Keary said there had been an early semi-finals atmosphere to their preparation given both teams are tipped to figure prominently after the regular season concludes next month.
"Obviously, first plays second, it's why you play footy," Keary said. "If you're not excited for it I don't know when you would be excited. It's a big game. It's got a little bit of a finals feel a month out.
"You've got to play your best footy [against the Storm], you've got to complete high and defensively, obviously they're going to throw a lot of trick shots at you with Smith, Slater and Cronk. They're obviously the benchmark at the moment. We'll find out where we're at."
They hope it is some way removed from where they were at on Sunday afternoon, when they were beaten up through the middle in conceding 32 unanswered points to Manly.
Keary said there was no issue restoring morale after the letdown at Lottoland.
"We've had a pretty good run the last couple of months," he said. "We had a similar game against Cronulla probably a month or two ago and understood why and what happened. We'll just move on from it."