Arguably the most exciting player in the NRL, Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco finally earned a sky-blue jumper in 2016 after various injury-related setbacks.
From tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in his debut game in 2013, all the way to a shoulder injury on the eve of Origin I, Tedesco has had to fight adversity to force himself onto the representative scene.
The way he battles that adversity is like few others, as he continues to overcome the setbacks to light-up the field with tries, line-breaks, and blistering speed when he does get the chance to lace up his boots.
Eventually, his dazzling capabilities forced VB Blues coach Laurie Daley to give him a chance on the Origin stage.
NSW were 2-0 down in the 2016 series, but according to teammate Aaron Woods, Tedesco’s attitude showed no signs of a“dead rubber”.
He is an immediate threat for the Wests Tigers when he is anywhere near the ball, and it was no different at ANZ Stadium, constantly getting on the outside of the Queensland defence and creating small opportunities.
Only scrambling Queensland defence stopped him from setting up a try or scoring one himself, but the men in maroon were certainly on high alert for the majority of the game.
You have to compete in every second of every minute during State of Origin, and again, only an incredible effort by Cooper Cronk denied Tedesco the match-winning play.
Down 14-12 with under two minutes remaining, Blake Ferguson got on the outside of Greg Inglis and burst through the line. Supporting on his left was Tedesco, who caught the ball 45 metres away from the try-line, and was brought down only centimetres from the chalk.
That previous run had Queensland on the back foot, after Michael Jennings scored the very next play after the ball was shifted left.
NSW won the game, largely thanks to James Tedesco; a star of the present, but a superstar of the future.
Origins: 1 (2016)
2016 Matches: 1 (Game III)
Total Runs: 24
Total Running Metres: 260 metres
Metres After Contact: 43 metres