Ferguson playing it cool over NRL future

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It appears everyone is more concerned with Blake Ferguson's NRL future than the man himself.

The former State of Origin and Australia winger almost certainly won't be at Parramatta next season but hasn't signed a deal anywhere else either.

At 31, he's at an appropriate age to hang up the boots if he wants to but an offer from a rival NRL club wouldn't be outrageous either.

It's the first time in his prominent rugby league career he's been off-contract so late into a season but the premiership-winning winger is trying to embrace the unknown.

"This has never happened. This is now, so I'm just living in the present, just cruising," he said on Tuesday.

"I am (relaxed about it).

"I've been around long enough where I don't have to worry about stuff that's outside the playing group, especially this time of the year.

"You're one loss away from getting pushed out of the game and we don't want that to happen and I don't want a distraction on the playing group."

The age-old line is true in this case - he's paying his manager good money to sort out his future for him.

"I'm just cruising, enjoying it," Ferguson said.

"I'm leaving it in the hands of my manager.

"At the end of the day I'm enjoying playing football and whatever's left of it I'm going to rinse it all out of me."

With one week to go before finals it's the end of an odd season for Ferguson, who has been in and out of first grade for the Eels.

A drop in form and a directive from coach Brad Arthur to go away and work on it resulted in Ferguson playing three reserve grade games before being recalled to the starting side a month ago.

He was sidelined with a calf injury for weeks but scored two tries against Melbourne last week to show he's still got it.

"I played two games in 10 weeks," he said.

"I'm usually playing 20 games a year.

"It's been such a weird year for myself."

After a shock win over the Storm last weekend, the Eels will rest several stars when they face Penrith on Friday night including skipper Clint Gutherson.

Utility Will Smith has been named as Gutherson's replacement to take over the captaincy.

Despite playing just 72 NRL games since making his debut at Penrith in 2014, the 29-year-old Smith is held in high regard at the club as a leader among the players.

"I was buzzing, I went back to my room and told my old man and my family and they loved it," he said of the moment Arthur told him the news.

"They're super excited and happy for me."

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