Sydney Roosters and NSW captain James Tedesco has expressed disappointment for team-mate Victor Radley after the star lock’s hopes of finally making his Origin debut were again dashed by a syndesmosis injury.
Radley has been on the cusp of Blues selection for the past three seasons but each year he has been unavailable due to injury or suspension and the Roosters forward joins a growing list of players ruled out of contention for the June 8 series opener.
The 24-year-old suffered an ankle injury in last Sunday’s 31-24 defeat of the Eels and there are fears he may need surgery, which could sideline him for up to 10 weeks.
Even if Radley avoids going under the knife, he is still likely to be out for up to six weeks.
Why Victor is more than just the inflictor
A ruptured ACL ended his Origin hopes in 2020 and last year a five-game suspension for dangerous contact put paid to Radley’s long-awaited debut for NSW.
Now he again appears set to be ruled out of contention for a spot in the Blues squad, which is set to be named on May 29.
“For him personally, it is not a great time to get that injury but that’s footy, I guess,” Tedesco said
“He is waiting to learn if he needs surgery or not but it will be at least four or five weeks.
“From Victor’s point of view that is disappointing. He got suspended last year for five weeks and couldn’t be chosen for Origin. He is always on the verge.
“I am pretty sure he is close to getting picked, so hopefully he gets back quick and who knows what can happen.”
Radley joins South Sydney captain Cameron Murray, Rabbitohs back Latrell Mitchell and Melbourne fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen on the injured list for NSW.
Yet even with Papenhuyzen and Mitchell, Tedesco believes it is too soon for Blues coach Brad Fittler to begin considering Roosters teen star Joseph Suaalii in his 24-man squad.
Superman Suaalii flies high
Suaalii has been in tremendous form on the right wing for the Roosters since returning from foot surgery that prematurely ended his rookie season, but Tedesco insists the 18-year-old is not yet ready for Origin.
“I wouldn’t say to pick him,” Tedesco said. “He is a great young player and I think in the next couple of years he will definitely be there but I don’t want to put that pressure on him now.”
Tedesco compared Suaalii as a cross between Israel Folau and Jarryd Hayne when they were a similar age and his transition from rookie to superstar is being managed like Greg Inglis, who also started on the wing.
Inglis played centre and five-eighth for the Storm, winning the Clive Churchill Medal in the No.6 jersey in 2008.
He became the Rabbitohs fullback after Michael Maguire took over in 2012.
“Folau was the same, GI was the same. You have got to learn the grind of the NRL week to week and Joey is doing that,” Tedesco said.
“It is just about how long it takes for him to go into that other position that he wants too but I think he is really enjoying the challenge of wing, at the moment.
“He can play anywhere, he is a bit like Izzy Folau so centre or wing, but he could be a fullback like a Hayne as well. He is a mix between those two. He is Folau-like but he could play anywhere in the backs.”