James Tedesco
James Tedesco is set to earn a State of Origin reprieve. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS
  • rugby league

No point to prove as Tedesco returns to NSW side

June 2, 2024

James Tedesco insists he will not enter State of Origin with a point to prove after being called back into the NSW team in place of the injured Dylan Edwards.

Seven days after becoming the first Australian Test captain to be axed from his Origin side, Tedesco walked back into Blues camp on Sunday afternoon.

The Sydney Roosters star will run out at No.1 for the Blues on Wednesday night, after a quad strain denied Edwards a dream debut at Accor Stadium.

Tedesco was considered the hard-luck story of coach Michael Maguire’s first team, with his omission threatening to end a record run of 22 straight games for NSW.

But the 31-year-old was adamant there were no hard feelings about the situation, instead telling Maguire on the phone on Sunday morning he is ready to go.

NSW coach Michael Maguire (left).
 NSW coach Michael Maguire (left) has welcomed James Tedesco back into the Blues’ Origin set-up. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS 

“I don’t think that’s my mentality (about proving a point),” a calm Tedesco said outside the Blues’ Sydney hotel. 

“My mentality is doing what’s best for the team, playing my best footy and creating the win. That’s the most important thing for me. 

“We’re at home, our first game here, it’s really important to win that first game. You get off to a good start, and that’s definitely my goal at the moment.”

Tedesco’s return prompted Queensland legend Gorden Tallis to claim he would be embarrassed to walk into camp if he was the NSW fullback, after last week’s axing.

The likes of former Blues coach Brad Fittler, however, predicted it would bring out the best in the No.1 as he pushed to show himself as the right man in the position.

Tedesco said the past week had been a “roller-coaster” for him, but believed Edwards had deserved his spot in the NSW No.1 jersey before the injury.

And nor did he spend any part of the seven days wallowing in misery, never fearing his Origin career was potentially over.

“I didn’t put too much thought into it, you never know what happens,” Tedesco said.

“There’s been injuries all throughout the year, so you never know what will happen.

“But I definitely accepted this week I wasn’t going to be playing, I was going to be watching from home and cheering on the boys. 

“I said leading up to this game I would always back whatever Madge (Maguire) chooses and I did that. And now I’m back playing, so it’s funny how the world works.”

Dylan Edwards
 Injury has ruled Dylan Edwards out of what would have been his Origin debut. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS 

Tedesco was confident he’d have no issue slotting into the NSW attack, after first being told on Saturday to be ready to play after Edwards pulled up sore at the end of Blues training.

He was then pulled out of the Roosters’ clash against North Queensland on Sunday, after scans showed a minor strain for Edwards.

“I only saw him briefly, but I’ve sent him a message,” Tedesco said. 

“It’s hard, that’s life sometimes. Bad luck happens. He definitely deserves the spot here and it’s just how things have worked out. 

“It’s obviously disappointing for him, but it’s an opportunity for me as well.”

New Blues skipper Jake Trbojevic will retain the captaincy despite Tedesco’s return, while Edwards is not expected to be sidelined for an extended period.