Legend gives 'awkward' NSW warning as Teddy returns

Legend gives 'awkward' NSW warning as Teddy returns

James Tedesco is back in blue – but his return for the State of Origin opener could leave NSW in an “awkward position” later in the series.

Less than a week after being axed as captain and fullback for the Blues, the 31-year-old has answered an SOS call after Dylan Edwards suffered a quad injury in camp.

Tedesco will now run out for his 23rd appearance in the Origin arena, adding plenty of experience and strike to Michael Maguire‘s backline.

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Speaking on Nine’s Sunday Footy Show, league great Andrew Johns believes the Roosters superstar is primed for a huge performance against Queensland.

“He will have a stormer,” Johns said.

James Tedesco of the Blues looks dejected at full-time during game one of the 2022 State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at Accor Stadium on June 08, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

James Tedesco has been called into the NSW team.  Getty

“All new combinations with Teddy going to fullback and combinations in rep games are so important. I think it’s really good that they get the experience of Tedesco.

“Nicho [Hynes] has played one game off the bench, Jarome [Luai] has played seven and Reece Robson has started one game and one off the bench.

“It just gives them some experience.” 

Tedesco has been in strong form this season for the Tricolours, but ultimately lost his spot to Edwards as the Blues look towards the future.

Watch the 2024 State of Origin series exclusively live and free on Nine and 9Now.

However, according to Origin legend Cameron Smith, there could be a few underlying issues for Tedesco, Maguire and Edwards depending on the result.

“He’s going to have a point to prove,” Smith said on Nine’s Wide World Of Sports.

James Tedesco in action for the Roosters. Getty

“When the decision was made to include Dylan Edwards as fullback, it was a little bit divisive. Half the fans said James Tedesco should have been given another opportunity.

“I think Teddy’s got a little bit to prove. He’s lost his captaincy. He’s lost his spot as the number one fullback for the NSW footy side, and I actually feel as though this is a little bit more dangerous for Queensland than it is for NSW.

“This is the awkward position that now the Blues are in. If Teddy was to go out and have a big game, the Blues were to win and he was instrumental in it, it could be a little bit of an awkward discussion around the selection table.”

Former coach and NSW icon Brad Fittler agreed with Smith’s sentiments, but claims the champion Roosters No.1 will make the most of his second chance.

“Teddy is the type of bloke who will see this as the greatest opportunity to prove himself,” he said on Nine’s Sunday Footy Show.

“I was surprised he didn’t get picked in the first place, but he will see this is as a massive challenge to prove not only to the coach, but to everyone.

“I don’t know how warm it’s gonna be [between Maguire and Tedesco]. If you’ve been dropped, you’re not feeling good. It would be the least amount of words as possible.

“It’s the opportunity to do a job here … he’s definitely the man to do it.”

Tedesco will be unavailable for the Roosters’ round 13 clash with the Cowboys on Sunday afternoon after being called into the squad.

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