Waqa Blake insists he’ll be up to the task of filling in for Blake Ferguson on the wing if the NSW star is ruled out of Parramatta’s semi-final against South Sydney.
Ferguson hurt his knee in Saturday night’s loss to Melbourne, with the injury still iced during Wednesday night’s main training run.
Parramatta players had Thursday off as the rest day, leaving Friday’s brief captain’s run as Ferguson’s last chance to train alongside teammates and prove his fitness.
If Ferguson doesn’t play, coach Brad Arthur is expected to move Michael Jennings from the left edge to right centre, pushing Blake outside him on the wing.
George Jennings will then start on the other wing, with Brad Takairangi likely to be his inside man on Saturday night at Bankwest Stadium.
Blake has not started on the wing since April, 2017 at Penrith, but spent 65 minutes on the left touchline last week after Maika Sivo also went down.
And he is certain he’ll be ready for the change.
“I still have the experience there,” Blake said this week.
“I am used to having a winger next to me but it’s not like I am playing in the middle. It’s not too hard, I just have to own it.”
Blake’s defence has become the centre of attention in recent weeks.
His right edge conceded 14 tries in the last 10 rounds before the finals, while Ferguson has also regularly been isolated on the wing and let in 18 tries himself this year.
Souths look ready to target that side of the field, with Cody Walker on fire and having already run in three tries down there when they flogged the Eels 38-0 last month.
“They threw a lot of shape at us,” Blake said.
“I think it was just us not defending well and not sticking to our systems.
“We’re going to be ready, we know what we need to do, what we need to fix up. We just have to be on our game because otherwise they will tear us apart.”
Regardless, Blake is confident he’ll be up to the task, drawing confidence from the way Parramatta opened the season in defence..
“We started off well at the start of the season,” he said.
“I think we just went away from it and our systems here. But we know what to do and we’ve just got to get out there and do it.”