A new year, a new leadership group and a double header at the Sydney Cricket Ground to start the season has Roosters Captain James Tedesco primed for a big season.
Heading into his fifth season in the Red, White and Blue, the mercurial fullback expressed his excitement for the new season, which begins with the Round 1 double header with the NRLW side against the Newcastle Knights at the hallowed Sydney Cricket Ground.
“I’m excited, it’s come around pretty quick,” he said.
“But we’ve had an awesome pre-season, having everyone back on deck and everyone healthy and ready to go for Round 1.
“A lot of our leaders that have gone over the past couple of years who have retired, we’ve had to bring a new leadership group up and for me leading that as captain.
"I’m proud to be representing these boys. They’re hungry, they do everything they can on and off the field to be the best they can and it’s exciting for us going forward.
“The NRLW is going up in so many ways, there are so many positives about the game and they’re really growing the game as well.
“To have that double header at the SCG, I’m hoping that the rain holds off and we can have a great day on Saturday.”
Round 1 Media - James Tedesco
One familiar face that Roosters Members and supporters will be looking forward to seeing is five-eighth Luke Keary, who will return to the side following a year-long stint on the sidelines with an ACL tear.
Tedesco is just as keen to see his fellow spine member take the field alongside the likes of Victor Radley and young halfback Sam Walker for the very first time.
“It’s so good to have him back,” he said of Keary.
“Obviously we missed him a lot last year. He takes control, he’s our halfback and he leads us around and he communicates so well.
“He and Radley, they haven’t played together for two years and with them on the field together it’s going to be key for us to be successful this year.
“Especially so with Sammy Walker. He’s looked really good as well - having Keary there - and having that experience last year is really exciting for this year.
“Keary’s been going around getting his body in front of the big boys; Angus (Crichton) has been running at his inside shoulder a lot. He prepares well, he looks good and it’s just good to have him back.
“We’ve done a lot of talking about it, now it’s just about getting out there and playing now.”
While the new recruits and returning players have created plenty of buzz around in and around camp, the Tricolours' skipper is under no illusions about what it takes to make a significant impact on the competition.
“It takes a bit more than that,” he stated.
It’s definitely a big positive for us going into the start of the year but you can’t just rely on that. We’ve got to go out there, play good footy and execute.James Tedesco On returning players
“We’ve shown that during our pre-season. We’ve worked really hard, the boys have dug deep and there haven’t been any complaints or excuses.
“A lot of our young guys got experience and now they’re even more ready for first-grade and we’ve got a lot of healthy guys coming back as well.
“It’s definitely a big positive for us going into the start of the year but you can’t just rely on that. We’ve got to go out there, play good footy and execute.
"We’ve probably let ourselves down in defence and execution over the last few years. It wasn’t as good as it was in 2018 and 2019, and we’ve got to get back to that level and get better.
“Our defence as well is a big part of success so we’re looking forward to that challenge.”