Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson has expressed his desire to retain former representative star Blake Ferguson as the Tri-Colours get set for a fight to keep the in-form winger.
Robinson was wary of throwing fuel on the fire by commenting on the off-contract former NSW Blue and Kangaroo after Newcastle and Parramatta this weekend emerged as suitors for the 28-year-old.
Knights coach Nathan Brown confirmed the NRL club's interest in his services while it was reported Ferguson had also met with Parramatta.
"It's funny talking about all that sort of stuff. There's a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes in a club and recruitment," Robinson said.
"It's best not to go into those things. Even though I know Nathan has commented on it. That's the stuff that needs to go on in the shadows and when things are finalised ... then they should come out."
Pushed on whether the Roosters wanted to keep Ferguson, Robinson said: "Someone in-form like that, he's playing very strong footy and that's good for him.
"I don't want to create more speculation, even though this will. This stuff is working out behind the scenes. The speculation is good for people but it's not for me."
Despite being dropped by NSW and Australia, Ferguson has been one of the Roosters' strongest this year and hailed as an unsung hero by his clubmates.
Robinson said he was in Origin-type form and unlucky to miss out on NSW selection again.
Heading into Friday's clash with Melbourne Storm in Adelaide, Ferguson leads the comp in a number of key statistics including most run metres (188m per game) and most runs (293) and is equal second for linebreaks (13).
He's been criticised by some for being error-prone however has come up with match-winning plays in two of the club's past three games, against Wests Tigers and Newcastle.
"He's been outstanding," Robinson said.
"I think it's been pretty clear to see the way he's played this year and consistently performed for us. He's been very strong for us."