James Tedesco crows about Sydney Roosters and Wests Tigers lick their wounds


If Tedesco was to hit the open market today, he would arguably become the first NRL player to fetch $1.5 million a season.

It was only 18 months ago Tedesco was still at the Tigers, and club favourite Robbie Farah – who represented NSW alongside the No. 1 – said the sight of him running around elsewhere was still tough to take.

“It kills me [he’s not here],” Farah said on Thursday.

“I remember when I first watched him play, I went away and told my family and friends ‘I’ve just seen the next Billy Slater’. He was the best kid I’d seen. I said at the time you build a club around him.

“He almost left here to go to Canberra, I was filthy at the time, I did everything I could to keep him here, which I was lucky enough to do for a couple of years.

You Blue-ty … James Tedesco leaves the Pullman Hotel on Thursday after his man-of-the-match Origin performance for NSW.Credit:AAP

“I wasn’t around the next time, but I don’t think anyone would have stopped him going to the Roosters. It’s worked out well for him, he’s won a grand final and he’s playing unbelievable football.

“You could see how good he was at a young age and he was the difference last night.

“It’s a shame he’s not wearing these colours. Put him in this team and it’s a whole new ball game.

“Our CEO [Grant Mayer] at the time thought he wasn’t worth the money [when he negotiated with Canberra]. I said to him, ‘write him a blank cheque’. He’s a once-in-a generation player. It’s unfortunate we let him slip through our fingers, but credit to him, he’s made the most of it and in my opinion he’s the best player in the game at the moment.”

Tedesco was proud to say ”I’ve got a pretty good trophy cabinet at home”, but had so much more he still wanted to achieve.

The 26-year-old will enjoy this weekend off from club duty, as will Blues and Roosters skipper Boyd Cordner, and cannot wait to return for the run home to September.

“I haven’t played with a full-strength Roosters team pretty much all year,” Tedesco said.

“‘Friendy’ [Jake Friend] is back this week, Luke Keary came back last week. I’ll take this week off and come back and rip in.”

Tedesco watched Blake Ferguson dance down the sideline before the resurgent Eel fired a pass back inside, which for a brief moment appeared set to sail behind him.

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Ferguson blamed Tedesco for being too fast.

“I threw it dead-flat and he still overran it,” Ferguson quipped.

“I couldn’t believe it. It actually helped him because he had to stop.

“He’s phenomenal. I don’t know how he does it. He’s so powerful but also has endurance. You usually have one or the other. He has both. He’s a freak. I don’t think he’s ever disappointed in an Origin jersey.”

Tedesco said of the final four-pointer: “If we got into a position Jimmy Maloney was going to take a shot [at field-goal].

“But ‘Pearcey’ chanced our arm, he shifted it wide, Fergo went down the sideline, and it was a great sight. I pushed up in support and hoped for the best. To score that try to win the series … it doesn’t get much better.”

Blues coach Brad Fittler described Tedesco as ”pretty special” and someone ”who plays the big games so well”.

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