Defeat to Tonga Invitational team takes gloss off bumper year for Australia fullback James Tedesco

Tedesco also defended Roosters, New South Wales and Kangaroos teammate Latrell Mitchell, who had a disappointing night with his hands and was later criticised by commentators including Blues coach Brad Fittler, who said: “Latrell came up with some bad errors and some really soft options”.

Tedesco said:  “To not execute that last pass, that’s disappointing. I’ve had a lot of success the last few minutes [in games] this year, I was hoping for it again but it didn’t come off. That’s on me.

James Tedesco tries to evade Tongan defenders at Eden Park on Saturday night.Credit:NRL Photos

“I needed to be better with that last pass. With everyone saying how good I am, I still have a lot of stuff to work on – it’s good to have that little wake-up call and that I need to still keep improving and working on my game to stay on top.”

His season now over, Tedesco will head to the Melbourne Cup before a few weeks off in the United States at the end of the month.

Given his heavy involvement for club, state and two Tests for Australia, the fullback was relieved his body did not require any minor surgeries or maintenance.

“But I need some rest now,” Tedesco said.

“I don’t know when I go back [to pre-season training]. Hopefully next year some time.”

Expected to go close to winning the Golden Boot, an international award he was stunningly beaten to last year by England winger Tommy Makinson, Tedesco was not sure his odds would improve this year given Test matches were a big factor.

“I think it’s based on international games, so I don’t think I’ll get it to be honest,” Tedesco said.

“Maybe one of the Tongan boys will get it. They’ve had to strong wins against two good teams.“

The unhappiest Australian player was Mitchell, whose two knock-ons led to Tongan tries and who was targeted most of the night by three and four defenders. He was consoled by good friend Josh Addo-Carr after the game.

“We want Latrell to take those tough carries out of the back of the field, he worked really hard, he came up with a few disappointing errors, but it’s our job to defend that,” Tedesco said.

“We had a few opportunities and didn’t execute. That’s not on Latrell. He’ll be disappointed, but he had a big year as well.”

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