Blues fullback James Tedesco has declared he can use the current State of Origin series as a stepping stone towards staking a claim to be the world's best fullback in the near future.
Tedesco may be looking for a confidence boost coming from the struggling Wests Tigers into a star-studded NSW Origin team but confidence doesn't look to be a massive issue as it is for the 25-year-old Camden product as he heads into his second Origin game.
"That was my aspiration at the start of the year [to be the world's best fullback]," Tedesco said from Blues camp in Kingscliff this week.
"With all the dramas [at Wests Tigers] and how we've been going, this year probably hasn't gone the way I hoped but I'll still have those aspirations in the future."
To be nominated the No.1 fullback in NSW by Origin selectors Laurie Daley and Peter Sterling – with the likes of Josh Dugan, Jarryd Hayne and Matt Moylan around – is already a huge confidence booster, Tedesco said.
"Hopefully I can take that confidence back to club footy and be the best in the game by the end of the year. That's definitely a goal for me," he said.
"If I can stamp my authority as the best in this arena then it'll go a long way to being the best in the game."
While there is no question Storm fullback Billy Slater is the premier fullback of the past decade and current Maroons custodian Darius Boyd has been the best over the past two years, Tedesco reckons a berth in the end-of-year Kangaroos World Cup squad isn't unrealistic if he brings his best footy between now and then, despite his club floundering near the foot of the NRL ladder.
"I think [it's possible]; it's hard wanting to be the best when our team's not going great," he said.
"It still is a goal [to be the best], not just for this year but in the future. I still have that as a goal and if it happens this year or the next few years I'm still striving to get that."
Tedesco admitted he had been concerned that the Tigers' recent form may have impacted on him potentially retaining his Blues jersey after a winning start in Game Three last year.
"Obviously it's hard to look good when we're getting beat by big scores," he said.
"I put that responsibility on myself as well I guess, I'm trying my hardest out there to win games but things just aren't clicking for us at the moment.
"It does get a bit frustrating and disappointing but to come in here I can take a bit of confidence from that, take it back to club level and hopefully we can turn our season around."
This article first appeared on NRL.com