FORMER NSW representative and leading commentator Greg Alexander says a State of Origin star has been born in James Tedesco and that as good as the Blues fullback was on Wednesday night if they played another Origin game next week he would be even better.
“That’s because he would have the first game behind him now and would naturally improve with the experience, while Queensland couldn’t get any better at the way they tried to handle him,” Alexander tells RLW.
“He’s a bloody good player, Tedesco, in fact he’s a great player – just about the most dangerous player in the NRL.”
Tedesco kept getting involved against Queensland and ended up running for a whopping 260 metres – 94 metres more than the next-best from either side, which happened to be his Wests Tigers teammate and NSW prop Aaron Woods.
‘Teddy’ also made the long break that put the Blues in with a chance for a late win. He almost scored the winning try before being run down just short of the line before NSW centre Michael Jennings nailed the go-ahead four-pointer in what ended up an 18-14 win.
The Maroons were so concerned about Tedesco’s match-winning ability that their outside backs were clearly instructed to jam in on him when he got the ball on sweep plays, even at the risk of leaving the team short in defence on the outside if they got their timing wrong.
“NSW tried to use him as you thought they would, on those sweep plays, but Queensland were all over that,” Alexander says.
“We should have changed tack before we got to halftime. Laurie said when he was interviewed on TV before the start of the second half that we needed to change things up a bit, but that probably should’ve happened a bit sooner.
“They did it well in the first half, Queensland, jamming in on Tedesco. It wasn’t his fault that happened, it was a good tactic, so it was hard for him to get into the game. But he kept trying and like the great player that he is he found a way to make things happen. He’s just so dangerous.
“He was very good and he’ll get even better. It’s a big step up, Origin, but you can’t do what he does at NRL level and not have it transfer to rep footy, because he does it so well.”