Scotland forward Dale Ferguson thinks the Bravehearts’ heavy week in Edinburgh has prepared them as well as possible for the biggest test of their lives: successive games against Australia, England and New Zealand. Scotland warmed up for the Ladbrokes Four Nations tournament by beating a Barrow side 48-16 in Liam Harrison’s Testimonial on Friday night, but looked weary at times after a training camp at Heriot-Watt University’s Oriam Performance Centre.
“We’ve had the best prep,” said Ferguson, who returns to Super League with former club Huddersfield Giants next month after three years at Bradford Bulls. “The coaches said the camp in Edinburgh was going to be tough and it was, really tough. The first week of training was always going to be packed. We had two sessions a day but the facilities there were outstanding. Now I’m just looking forward to playing against the best in the world.”
While second-rower Ferguson started in the pack alongside familiar Scotland team-mates Brett Phillips, Adam Walker, Liam Hood and Ben Kavanagh, debutant Frankie Mariano started the game at Barrow and Ferguson was joined off the bench by more newcomers in Australian-based duo Sheldon Powe-Hobbs and Billy McConnachie, and Hull LR youngster Kieran Moran.
“It’s what happens with internationals,” explains Ferguson, now 28. “You’ve got to play with new guys when you come into camp and get on with it as quickly as possible. It was about getting to know everyone and get combinations going. It was tough as Barrow came out to give to us a bit and represent Harrison. Take no credit away from them but it’s all about building for us, seeing different players in different positions and combinations. We swapped and changed it. It’s building blocks for next week.”
Ferguson has won 11 caps since making his debut in 2010 but the Pontefract-born forward, who started his career with Wakefield Trinity, is now an established senior figure in Steve McCormack’s squad.
“I love playing for Scotland and representing my family,” said Ferguson. “Every time I come into camp it’s always a close knit group of boys. That’s one of the qualities of playing for Scotland. We are a big family-based thing. The new boys have gelled and settled in straight away. They’ve been here a week but you’d think they’d have been here a lot longer.”
Here the full interview with Ferguson here: