Dylan Edwards' act towards James Tedesco comes to light after NSW State of Origin heartbreak

Edwards has stayed with the Blues squad to help the team prepare for Game I.

NSW vice-captain Isaah Yeo says he is gutted Dylan Edwards won't get a chance to make his Origin debut but despite his heartbreak had decided to stay in camp to help James Tedesco and the team prepare for Game I. Edwards returned to NSW training in a behind-the-scenes role on Monday as NSW had their final major training session.

Tedesco was called into Blues camp on Sunday as an injury replacement for the Panthers fullback, who was ruled out of Wednesday night's State of Origin opener with a quad injury. And the circumstances of the Penrith star's injury couldn't have been more heartbreaking. To ensure he was as ready as he could be for his Blues debut, Edwards was doing additional training when he picked up a quad injury that ultimately ruled him out of Game I.

Pictured left James Tedesco and right Dylan Edwards
Dylan Edwards has stayed in Blues camp to help James Tedesco and the team prepare for Game I. Image: Getty

Edwards is next to no chance to play for Panthers at the weekend but there is a slight chance he could return against Newcastle in round 15, on the same afternoon Michael Maguire will name his Blues team for Origin II. But in Edwards' mind, that is something to worry about in the future, with his immediate priority helping NSW prepare for Game I on Wednesday night. And his Panthers teammate, Yeo, says his dedication to the team even in such trying circumstances shows the kind of man he is and the team culture NSW has.

"It shows the character he is, he could've gone home and hid away in his room and tucked himself away because of the disappointment," Yeo said. "It would've been easy, but he still fronted the group. He's helping in meetings and doing what he can for the team.

"I think that's the environment we're building in this team. I'm obviously gutted for him, particularly the timing, but that's the roller-coaster we're on."

Before missing selection for Game I, Tedesco had featured in 22 straight matches for the Blues, dating back to his debut in the final game of the 2016 series. And while being overlooked would surely have hurt the former Blues captain, Tedesco dismissed suggestions he has a point to prove after his initial axing. "I don't think that's my mentality," he said.

"My mentality is doing what's best for the team, playing my best footy and creating the win. That's the most important thing for me. We're at home, our first game here, it's really important to win that first game. You get off to a good start and that's definitely my goal at the moment.


While the circumstances are unique for Tedesco ahead of Game I, the Roosters star says he is fully focussed at the task at hand. "I've played in a couple of these before, so I know what it takes. I've played with most of these guys or I've been in camps with pretty much all of them, It's not like I don't know any of them," he said.

"I know how most of these guys play and I know them on a personal level, so that definitely helps coming into camp. I've got a couple of training sessions with them together, so just building that connection. But it is a different preparation than I've had before."

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 31:  James Tedesco of the Blues is tackled during game one of the 2023 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and New South Wales Blues at Adelaide Oval on May 31, 2023 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
James Tedesco was rushed into the Blues squad following an injury to fullback Dylan Edwards.

Yeo's selection on the Blues bench for Game I was a surprise to many and since then rumours have swirled that Maguire may pull a late switch and start him come Wednesday night. But the Panthers forward insists that isn't the case and he really will start on the bench. "Come Wednesday night I'll still be on the bench, I promise," he said.

"It's similar to game three last year and I came off the bench when I first came into Origin too. I'll still go into the middle and still do my role in there. Obviously, we've got plans in case edges or centres go down, but my main focus is in the middle. In terms of front row, lock, it's no different, I play a similar style."

with AAP