Michael Maguire has asked the Roosters whether axed Blues skipper James Tedesco can be on standby. Image by Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS
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Dumped Tedesco on standby for shock Origin return

Jasper Bruce June 1, 2024

James Tedesco is on standby to come to NSW’s rescue only days on from his State of Origin axing after replacement fullback Dylan Edwards pulled up sore in the lead-up to game one.

Named ahead of long-time Blues captain Tedesco for the June 5 series opener, Edwards reported tightness in his quad after the final session of NSW’s Blue Mountains camp on Saturday.

The Blues do not believe the Penrith fullback’s injury is serious.

But with game one fast approaching, coach Michael Maguire and his support staff will make a call on the would-be NSW debutant’s fitness on Sunday morning.

After dividing opinions with his decision to cut incumbent captain Tedesco, Maguire reached out to Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson on Saturday to gauge the fullback’s availability.

NSW has no choice but to call in an 11th-hour replacement if Edwards succumbs to his injury, given there is no other specialist fullback in the extended squad, and Tedesco has told the Blues he can be available if need be.

As it stands, Tedesco is expected to play for the Roosters in their round-13 clash against North Queensland, but instead could be whisked away to Blues camp only hours before Sunday’s kick-off at Allianz Stadium.

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said Edwards had downplayed the setback when the pair spoke on Saturday.

“More will come to light, what the story is, tomorrow, I believe,” he said after the Panthers’ 22-10 loss to St George Illawarra on Saturday night.

“(But) Dyl seemed pretty confident.”

Dylan Edwards.
 Dylan Edwards has pulled up sore at NSW training and is in doubt for State of Origin I. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS 

Robinson fronted the press on Saturday morning, only hours before Edwards’ injury scare at training, and addressed Tedesco’s axing for the first time.

He said he was “obviously” surprised the 22-time NSW representative had been overlooked for selection for the first time since making his debut in the third game of the 2016 series.

“You expect for (Tedesco) to be back in there again,” he said.

“But then also one of the most outstanding players in the competition as well has been Dylan Edwards.

“You can’t make a poor choice there. It’s just really hard when you care about a guy and he’s been in outstanding form. 

“He’s done nothing to lose his jersey, but I know he also feels the same way; Dylan Edwards is an outstanding player. I know he wishes him the best.”

Robinson said both Edwards and Tedesco had been in good enough form to play Origin, a point he felt had been missed in the selection debate.

“A lot of people look at it as black and white, good and bad, one of them was playing good, one wasn’t,” he said.

“(But) they’ve both been in the top three or four form players in the competition to start the year. It made it a difficult choice, I imagine.”

The Roosters confirmed to AAP that five-eighth Luke Keary would play against the Cowboys after being released from duties as NSW’s 19th man. He will reunite with the Blues after that game.