Tedesco Relishing Roosters Hype
Sydney Roosters superstar recruit James Tedesco doesn't feel the burden of heavy expectation placed on his new club, confident he can lead the Tricolours to premiership glory.
The arrival of Tedesco and Australian halfback Cooper Cronk in the off-season has catapulted the Roosters into premiership favouritism and despite having never played a finals game in his career, the NSW fullback isn't playing down the potential of his new team.
"The Roosters club is a strong club and has been for a long time, regularly playing finals football," Tedesco told NRL.com.
"I want to be a part of that. I feel like I can go there and help them win a premiership. I don't think it's pressure. I think it's just excitement.
"I've never been part of a team that is premiership favourites before. I will be happy just to play in the finals to be honest. With our squad, we should have success and I'm excited to be part of it."
Tedesco was one of the Telstra Premiership's most talked about player last season. His contract negotiations with the Wests Tigers and his subsequent Roosters defection was a topic of great conjecture.
He was one of the Blues' best players in a losing State of Origin side, going on to win the RLPA player of the year award for his performances with the struggling Tigers.
However, it wasn't enough to work his way into Mal Meninga's 24-man Australian squad for the World Cup despite setting himself the goal earlier in the year of becoming the No.1 fullback in the game by the end of 2017.
"There were some positives and negatives out of this year," Tedesco said.
"Playing Origin and getting the RLPA player of the year was definitely a positive. But not making Australia, it wasn't a negative, but I'm confident if I keep playing good footy it will come. I'm not stressing myself out too much about that. Moving to the Roosters club, I'm excited and hoping for more success going forward next year.
"I think you see that often when a lot of the guys in the top sides are making NSW and Australia because their teams are playing good footy. I'm hoping that will help me, playing alongside guys who have played for their state and country pretty consistently, that will help my game and hopefully I can help their game."
Cronk has played alongside Billy Slater for the most part of his career at every level in the sport, developing a formidable combination with the player commonly referred to as the greatest fullback in history.
While Tedesco is hopeful of building a partnership of similar potency with his new halfback, he admits he is not the same player as the Melbourne fullback.
"I haven't really played or talked to Cooper much before," Tedesco said.
"The combination Cooper and Billy built together is something we can try and build together ourselves. It's not going to mimic him and Billy. I think we'll have our own twist on it and I have my own abilities. I'll try and play my own game and I think Cooper's brain and experience will definitely help me with my game.
"I've been in a side that hasn't made the finals in a number of years. There's international and State of Origin players in this team that can really improve my game and build my game. To have that around me is going to be something special. I'm excited to get amongst it and get started."
Tedesco won't have to wait long to take on his former club, scheduled to return to ANZ Stadium in the opening round clash against the Wests Tigers.
The 24-year-old admitted he was happy to get the emotion-charged game out of the way early in the season, but knows he will be heckled by those who once adored him.
"I think it will be good. I look forward to playing against my old mates," Tedesco said.
"Hopefully there will be a big crowd out there, but I'm sure I will cop plenty of treatment. That's all part of it, so it will be good to get it out of the way.
"The NRL wants a big crowd out round one, so to have a battle like that it's exciting