Tigers kids can win premiership: Tedesco
Just days after turning his back on a massive payday with Canberra, a relieved James Tedesco has declared this current Wests Tigers squad "can win a premiership".
Fronting the media for the first time since reneging on a reported $1.8 million three-year deal with the Raiders exactly one week ago, Tedesco also said Canberra's poor start to the year wasn't a factor in his decision to stay at Concord.
"It was just in my heart that I didn't want to leave and I couldn't leave," he said on Tuesday. "That's got more to do with our team and the boys here. It's nothing to do with the Canberra club itself. Any other club, it's the same thing. It's just too hard to leave."
Tedesco, 21, was already having second thoughts on the contract he agreed to with Canberra two weeks ago when a last-minute heart-to-heart with skipper Robbie Farah convinced him to go through with it.
"Robbie was the one who told me to be strong. Obviously the negotiations weren't going too well upstairs, [but] he said that it didn't really matter about upstairs or the upper board," Tedesco said.
"[Farah said] 'You've just got to worry about the teammates that you're playing with. In your heart do you want to stay and play with the boys? I think that's all that matters.'
"That really struck a chord that I actually wanted to stay. I'm playing footy with these boys and they're the main thing at the end of the day. The team that we've got here, and the young boys that are coming through, it's very exciting.
"We've got a team that has a chance to win a premiership and I think that's more important than all the other stuff."
The local junior said calling Raiders coach Ricky Stuart was the hardest thing he's had to do in his life.
"It took me a while to build up the courage. I was apologetic to him and to all the fans down there to make the decision and to go back on it was very hard to do," he said.
"[It was] probably the hardest decision in my life to do that. I was very stressed leading up to that but to get it all done, to get out there and play footy out on the weekend was great. It felt good to be out there playing."
Tedesco has yet to officially sign with the Tigers but a deal, understood to be the same as the club's original offer, is expected within days. With the door finally closed on this deal, the City representative hoped negotiations for his next contract in 2018 wouldn't be as stressful.
"I'm only 21 and I've had to go through this whole process... it's something I wasn't planning on going through, all this commotion and all that sort of stuff. I'm hoping for the next contract to get it out of the way quickly so I don't have to go through all this stuff again," he said.