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Tedesco's cut-out pass eight years in the making

Melbourne have been analysing Roosters fullback James Tedesco's much-improved passing game this week leading into Sunday's NRL grand final, but they aren't the only ones.

In preparation for the Emerging Nations World Championship in Sydney, the Polish rugby league side is also studying a brilliant right to left cut-out pass Tedesco threw to set up a try for his winger.

Strangely enough, it is not the pass the NSW Origin star threw to Daniel Tupou for a try in the preliminary final win over the Rabbitohs, one described by commentator Phil Gould as the best Tedesco had thrown in his life.

It is a cut-out pass a 17-year-old Tedesco threw for St Gregory's College Campbelltown against Patrician Brothers Blacktown to set up victory in the 2010  Metropolitan Catholic Schools grand final.

Lee Addison, the St Gregs coach at the time and now Poland's head coach, spoke to NRL.com about the genesis of a skilled passing game Tedesco has always possessed which is starting to flourish.

When Tedesco threw the pass Gould waxed lyrical about, Addison was not surprised.

A former lower-grade coach at Manly and Penrith and the US assistant coach at the 2013 World Cup, he insists Tedesco's season at five-eighth for St Gregs in 2010 was pivotal in his development because it enabled him to come into the middle of the field and play on both sides.

Roosters fullback James Tedesco with the 2010 champion St Gregory's schoolboys side. Tedesco is front and left, lying beside the Metropolitan Catholic Schools Trophy.
Roosters fullback James Tedesco with the 2010 champion St Gregory's schoolboys side. Tedesco is front and left, lying beside the Metropolitan Catholic Schools Trophy. ©NRL Photos

"In the first five minutes of that 2010 grand final against Blacktown, Tedesco makes a play on the short side and throws a cut-out ball to the winger who goes into score in the corner," Addison said.

"I have an online coaching website and because I am coaching a Poland team with players all around the world I am coaching them predominantly through that.

"Only  yesterday I put on that website all the game planning stuff for next week and one of the clips I used was Tedesco throwing that cut-out pass in 2010 for my players to study. I am trying to show my players how if you keep an eye on the short  side that opportunities can present themselves and Teddy's a great example of someone finding opportunity and taking it.

"Teddy set up that try for Tupou on the weekend, and a try in Origin with a decisive pass to Latrell Mitchell, and  I've noticed a distinct improvement in that aspect of his play this year since he went to the Roosters.

"He's always had that in him … but now it is like he is starting to unlock everything that he has got in his toolbox."

In 2010 as a 17-year-old winger, Tedesco, came up to Addison at his first training session and asked to have a go "closer to the action".

"He caught and passed one ball, stepped a bit in the process, and I said 'I have found my five-eighth'," Addison said.

"Teddy's time at six has helped him be the fullback we see today because it changed his whole perception and perspective of the field … and in the years to come his career trajectory may well see him make a Darren Lockyer-type move and end up in the halves."

When Addison was head coach at Ipswich High last year he showed the students the 2010 Tedesco grand final play.  

"It looked effortless and the kids couldn't believe it," he recalled.

"Then the boys came into my office the next day and said 'sir, can you put that grand final on again. We want to watch Tedesco'."

Addison texted Tedesco and told him what they were watching and asked his old coach to send him the clip on a USB.

"He is never too busy to reply," Addison says.

"He is not up-himself in any way shape or form and I think one of the reasons his career has developed as it has is because he literally takes things in his stride and as they are."