While the Roosters connection will benefit the Australian Kangaroos, it’s an ex-Tigers friendship that has Tedesco excited.
Aaron Woods was Tedesco’s captain, teammate and friend, and they represented the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues together in 2016/17. Now, they get the chance to complete the trifecta and don the green and gold with each other.
It was a roller-coaster year for Woods; he joined the Bulldogs with his great mate David Klemmer before signing on with the Cronulla Sharks mid-season, where he had a terrific back-end to the year. His omission from the Origin team put the reunion on hold, but the pair, as well as Klemmer, are all back together to take on New Zealand.
“I’m pumped to be back with Woodsy,” Tedesco says.
“It’s been a while since I’ve seen Woodsy; I loved playing with him at the Tigers and just getting back with him and having some good chats and a laugh, I’ve enjoyed that.
“He went to the Sharks and had a great end of the year there and I was that stoked for him to see him get another run in the Aussie side because he’s been playing some good footy.
“He was unlucky to miss out on the Origin side, but to have him and big ‘Klem’ leading us from the front I’m excited for that.”
The last time Woods and Klemmer played for Australia was when they lifted the World Cup in December last year.
I loved playing with him at the Tigers and just getting back with him and having some good chats and a laugh, I’ve enjoyed that.James Tedesco
Tedesco is making his debut for Australia, but Grand Final-winning teammates Latrell Mitchell and Luke Keary will also play their first game, not to mention Boyd Cordner is captain.
He also has that established State of Origin combination with Damien Cook, so between the debutants, the State of Origin players and the incumbent Kangaroos, the team is hardly starting from scratch.
“With Kez, Trell and Boydo [Keary, Mitchell and Cordner] we have those combinations that’s just going to come naturally,” Tedesco said.
“It’s good having guys like Cookie [Damien Cook], we have that combination from Origin so that’s also going to come pretty naturally.
“We’re working on those new combinations with Hunty and Chez [Hunt and Cherry-Evans]; it’s the first time I’ve met or played with Cherry before and we’re getting those combinations at training.
“He’s a really talented player so I’m looking forward to it.”
In terms of peaking at the right time, Tedesco and his Roosters’ teammates absolutely nailed it.
The finals series were flawless, particularly after the question marks at the start of the season about their attack.
On top of the State of Origin victory, their form no doubt warrants all of their selections, but the season they’ve had and the confidence they’ve shown at the Roosters justifies them.
“What I’ve been able to do this year and to cap it off with an Australian jersey is really exciting; to do it alongside Latrell and Keary and for Boyd to be captain I’m pretty excited to do it with these boys,” Tedesco said.
“Confidence is a major factor guys like Latrell and myself us younger guys, when we’re playing good footy at state level - that’s the best footy that’s being played - we take that confidence down to our club level and that got us these jerseys in the Australian side.