Tedesco puts hand up for Blues backs
If Blues coach Laurie Daley is looking to plug a hole anywhere in his backline for Origin I, Wests Tigers fullback and City Origin winger James Tedesco says he's ready to go.
Tedesco has been one of the form players of the competition at the back for the Tigers but has Josh Dugan, Matt Moylan and Brett Stewart in front of him in the pecking order to replace Jarryd Hayne as NSW custodian.
However the 22-year-old speedster had a fine game on the wing for a losing City Origin side in Wagga on the weekend, scoring a try, making 91 metres with two line breaks, and making a team-high four tackle breaks.
He also played all three games in Italy's 2013 Rugby League World Cup campaign in the centres, and said he's played elsewhere in the backs before and would play anywhere Daley would pick him.
"If there's an opportunity anywhere in the backline I'd put my hand up," Tedesco said.
"If they need me anywhere I'll happily put my hand up and have a dig. I didn't mind it on the wing [for City], it's probably a bit different but I played a bit of juniors there and played a bit of first grade there so I didn't mind getting in there and having a dig.
"It was a good opportunity for me to play. Obviously we didn't get the win but it was a good week and I'll take a lot of experience out of that."
Tedesco also earned the backing of NSW prop and clubmate Aaron Woods.
"I think Teddy's been probably our best player, he's been probably the most consistent we've had so far. He's a good young kid and I think he'd be ready to play at any time," Woods said.
Tedesco has certainly added a new level of consistency to his game in 2015; he currently leads the competition for tackle breaks with 43 – well clear of Newcastle's Dane Gagai (36) – and his eight tries in eight games are just one behind frontrunners James Roberts and Curtis Rona.
While Daley still has plenty of players to choose from, the absences of Brett Morris, Josh Mansour and Blake Ferguson through injury, plus injury clouds over Josh Morris, Dylan Walker and Josh Dugan and form questions over others with Origin experience such as Will Hopoate and Dan Tupou all add up to put Tedesco in the frame.
His immediate task though is helping his side to a win over a desperate Roosters outfit coming off four straight losses, and Tedesco hopes his blossoming combination with the young playmakers at the Tigers will help.
"The more games we play together the better it's going to get," he said of his combination with halfback Luke Brooks and five-eighth Mitch Moses.
"Mitch and Brooksy, the more experience they get together playing and controlling games... they showed against the Bulldogs we can take control and not let games slip away like we have in the past and obviously Robbie [Farah]'s experience there is great for us. I think if we can stay on the park together it's going to get better and better."