If there are two players in the NRL who have earned a well-deserved rest this week it is Sydney Roosters pair James Tedesco and Daniel Tupou.
The Blues duo had a huge four days of work on the field with the outside backs racking up big numbers in games against Queensland and the Melbourne Storm.
On Wednesday night, Tedesco (24 runs for 291 metres) and Tupou (26 runs for 211 metres) were forced to do a lot of tough carries off their line as Queensland dominated field position for large parts of the match.
On Saturday night, the potent one-two combination were back at it against the Storm churning through a combined 39 runs, 384 runs and 11 tackle breaks.
A high work-rate is not uncommon for Tedesco and Tupou.
Coming into Round 14, of players who have played 10 games or more, Tedesco (20.3 average) and Tupou (16.8) were both ranked in the top six for total runs.
Tedesco (217.6 metres) and Tupou (166.8 metres) were also in the top six for average running metres.
If numbers are not your thing, here is a simpler way to look at it: they take the tough runs other people don’t like to take. Sure, they get noticed for their tackle breaks, bombs taken, line-breaks, flick passes and try assists but they get appreciated for their work off their own line.
Throw in the third member of the band Joseph Suaalii who scored the first try, saved a certain one and pulled off a trademark outside-in big tackle in the first quarter of the game and all of sudden the Roosters back three are starting to turn heads.
Super Suaalii had a night out
“There’s not many better back threes in the competition,” said Storm coach Craig Bellamy, who labeled the trio a “real danger”.
“They can score tries but they can all make metres and we all know how good a player Teddy [Tedesco] is.”
Back to Tedesco and Tupou and for those who like their statistics then here is one to ponder. Their run of quality involvements is extending into its fifth season.
In 2021, Tedesco and Tupou were ranked sixth and seventh for average total running metres respectively and fifth and seventh for average total runs.
In 2020, Tedesco was first for average runs and metres; Tupou was ninth and 11th.
In 2019, it was ninth and second for Tedesco and 11th and ninth for Tupou.
2018 — fifth and second and seventh and seventh.
Match Highlights: Blues v Maroons
Coach Trent Robinson said it was “impressive” how players can defy sports science and back up for games after Origin calling it “rare”.
“It’s such an honour to see those guys play the way they did on Wednesday and come back-up,” he said.
And after running for 531 metres on 49 runs in the space of four days, Tedesco said it was just “part of our job”.