Ivan Cleary makes call on Dylan Edwards amid calls to axe James Tedesco from Origin

Dylan Edwards continues to put his hand up for a Blues jersey and has received a big endorsement.

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary has thrown his backing behind in-form fullback Dylan Edwards with Michael Maguire facing a tough decision on whether to select incumbent James Tedesco for Origin. Tedesco came under plenty of scrutiny for his 2023 form, but has bounced back this year for the Roosters with a dazzling start to the season.

The 31-year-old has now captained the Blues to two-straight series losses, but is determined to hold onto his No.1 jersey for the Blues under new coach Maguire. Despite his own strong NRL form, Tedesco is facing tough competition with growing calls for Panthers fullback Edwards to be given a crack in the State of Origin arena.

Coach Ivan Cleary has backed Dylan Edwards (pictured left) to shine in the Blues fullback role if he is selected over James Tedesco (pictured right). (Getty Images)
Coach Ivan Cleary has backed Dylan Edwards (pictured left) to shine in the Blues fullback role if he is selected over James Tedesco (pictured right). (Getty Images)

Edwards leads the NRL with 1,284 running metres and has scored four tries this year. He has now helped the Panthers to three-straight premierships and can't do much more to put his hand up for selection. And while there is plenty of debate on who should take the No.1 jersey for the Blues, Panthers coach Cleary has claimed Edwards' game is tailor made for the Origin arena.

"He'd never let them down," Cleary said in The Sydney Morning Herald. "And I think he's perfectly suited for that environment and these type of games when there is lots of ball in play. 'Dyl' is also so good defensively. If you watch him play NRL, he'd bring so much of that to Origin."

Edwards played wing for the Kangaroos under Mal Meninga last year, but hasn't pulled on the Blues jersey. And the man himself admitted it is a dream to pull on the sky blue jersey. "Every kid grows up (and) wants to represent his state, and I'm no different," he told the publication.

"Our style of footy here at Penrith, and the way we want to play, I try to play a high work rate style of footy, and that's the type of footy you need to play in Origin. You never know until you're thrown in there. But I just have to play well here." Edwards admitted usurping the incumbent Kangaroos and Blues fullback will be very hard, but he would be up to the task if given the opportunity.

James Tedesco and Dylan Edwards return after week off

James Tedesco has recovered well and will be ready for the Thursday night game against Melbourne. This comes after what is believed to be his 10th concussion playing NRL. Tedesco was left knocked out cold after he attempted to tackle Viliame Kikau into touch against the Bulldogs.


The fullback went for the legs of Kikau, but got his head in the wrong position as he tried to bundle the forward out of play. There was immediate concern for Tedesco as he was escorted off the field and he took no further part in the game. He missed the following week of footy, but has returned to take back the fullback position from Joey Manu.

Edwards will return this week with the Panthers resting with the bye in round six. Edwards will have another week to impress Maguire, who recently admitted there could be up to 40 players all in contention for just 17 positions for the Blues.

Dylan Edwards runs the ball.
Dylan Edwards (pictured) is in contention for a Blues fullback jersey.