Former Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco.

Tedesco firms for Blues selection

As the nation nervously watched on to see who will lead Australia for the next three years, the night's other big question appears to have a more definitive answer. 

Saturday evening's clash between the Wests Tigers and Penrith Panthers was billed as a potential showdown between rival fullbacks James Tedesco and Matt Moylan to decide once and for all who should wear the No.1 jersey for the NSW Blues.

As his side ran out 34-26 victors, it was Tedesco who emerged as the prime candidate to be his state's No.1 with another mesmerising display of attacking brilliance. 

 

 
The 23-year-old had a quiet start to the game but exploded into life after 23 minutes when he got on the outside of fellow Origin hopeful Bryce Cartwright to send Tim Simona over for the Tigers' first try.

It was a case of déjà vu in the opening stages of the second stanza as the livewire fullback once again left the Panthers five-eighth in his wake as he sent Jordan Rankin over in the corner. 

Tedesco finished the night with two try assists, two line breaks, six tackle breaks and 133 running metres to outpoint his main rival in virtually every key area. 

His performance continued what has been a stellar 2016 that has yielded 11 tries and just as many assists, as well as a whopping 81 tackle breaks from just 13 appearances. 

Tigers coach Jason Taylor said Tedesco's form "speaks for itself" and reaffirmed his support for his fullback to don a blue jersey for Game III of the Holden State of Origin series. 

"He doesn't need me pushing his barrow anymore. It's clear," Taylor said. 

"You only have to watch that game. He's a class act and he deserves to be in the NSW team, in my opinion."

Taylor had a pretty clear message to selectors when asked whether he thought Tedesco should play on the wing. 

"That would be a silly decision in my opinion," he said.

Moving Tedesco to the flank would mean incumbent fullback Matt Moylan would retain his spot in the starting side after wearing the No.1 jersey for the first two games. 

Tigers skipper and Blues prop Aaron Woods endorsed his teammate for an Origin debut, but said he could see the two fullbacks coexisting in the same side.

"I don't see why not," Woods replied when asked about the prospect of both Moylan and Tedesco lining up for NSW.

"The way Teddy's playing is unbelievable. He's been great for us all year and I know he'll do a fantastic job for NSW if they pick him.

"He's done himself no harm today with the way he's played. The way he started the season, probably the only reason he wasn't there was because he was injured at the start. He's come back with a really good attitude and he's been making a massive difference to our squad since he's been back. 

"At the end of the day, Laurie (Blues coach Laurie Daley) is the coach and my say doesn't mean anything."

If Tigers forward Ava Seumanufagai was coach of the Blues, he would pick his teammate in a heartbeat. 

Speaking to NRL.com after Saturday's eight-point win, the Tigers prop said the "crazy fast" fullback would give the Blues the attacking spark they've so desperately been chasing in recent years.  

"He's just got the X-factor that other guys don't have," Seumanufagai said. 

"He's got the ability to break through the lines when you need something and he creates opportunities when nothing's doing so I think he'd be a great addition to the Blues."