Electric Tedesco back to 100%
A fit and firing James Tedesco says the chance to learn from master fullback Anthony Minichiello at the recent World Cup and a return to full fitness has his form and confidence soaring.
Tedesco was a standout for the Wests Tigers on day one of the Auckland Nines, his blinding pace helping him run in a try in each game and save a couple more.
The Italy centre was arguably the best of the Tigers in their opening loss to the Titans, scoring the opening try from 30 metres out with a swerving run, leaving multiple defenders clutching at thin air before touching down under the posts.
That blistering pace was on show again early in the Tigers' second outing as he ran down a seemingly try-bound Jonathan Wright and bundled him into touch at the last second.
He capped a stellar opening day by streaking away to score an 80-metre try late in that game to seal a victory for the Tigers.
"Young Teddy's playing awesome... He's a quality player," Tigers skipper Robbie Farah told NRL.com after that victory over the Sharks.
"We saw what he could do last year, he's grown in confidence, he's put on a lot of size and he's still got his speed so we've got high hopes for him for this year."
Tedesco said he took a lot of confidence out of the World Cup, where he played for Italy.
"Playing with guys like [Anthony] Minichiello out there, some experienced guys. He had a lot of tips for me at fullback, he's the most experienced fullback in the game at the moment.
"I was playing in the centres out there but there was a lot of room out there so I was playing with confidence."
Tedesco said he felt back to full fitness after his all-star displays at the Nines.
"I feel like I'm getting back to 100 per cent speed. I had that speed growing up then I sort of felt like I lost it a bit when I had my knee operation but it's feeling good at the moment so hopefully I stay injury free this year."
He said he was very disappointed to rupture an ACL in the early stages of his debut game for the Tigers in Round 1 2012 and the recovery took a year and a half.
"My confidence is back to 100 per cent, my speed is 100 per cent at the moment. I was very disappointed that game, the other players say it takes a long time to come back from those injuries and it took 18 months.
"A lot of it's confidence, a lot of it's physical ability, but I'm feeling 100 per cent at the moment."
It's an ominous sign not just for the second day of the Nines tournament but for the 2014 NRL season if Tedesco is able to produce that form on a regular basis.