James Tedesco has brushed off concerns around the situation between himself and Joseph Suaalii, after insisting the pair can thrive together at the Roosters. The Tri Colours captain and his young teammate have found themselves at the centre of recent speculation that one will have to make way for the other, when their current deals come to an end in 2024.
The situation has dominated discussions around the Roosters at the start of the season was thrust back into the spotlight during Saturday's 20-12 win over the Warriors when Suaalii chose not to pass to Tedesco, before setting up teammate Sam Walker for a try.
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The Daily Telegraph's Phil 'Buzz' Rothfield made mention of the moment in his Monday column, before discussing it on Sky Sports radio. Rothfield said while he didn't agree with many fans who described Suaalii's actions as "selfish", the veteran league reporter conceded that it would inevitably spark debate.
“There was a big incident in that game on Saturday, when Suaalii made the break down the left side off Luke Keary, he had Tedesco unmarked inside him and didn’t pass to him," Rothfield said on Sky Sports radio. “That just gets tongues wagging moments like that.”
Rothfield's radio colleague Michael Clarke replied: “Hang on, you think Suaalii didn’t pass to Tedesco? Hang on a second, because they both want the fullback position, so they aren’t happy with each other? Please tell me what are you saying here?"
Rothfield fired back: “Have you read my column? Did you watch the game? You’re challenging me, so I will challenge you if you’ve actually read the column... well maybe you should because I clearly said in the column Clarkey that Joseph Suaalii is not a selfish player.
“I also said in the column, as great a player as he is, he is going to make a thousand mistakes over the next 10 years. I just said that there was a perception when this happened that it could have been regarded as selfish, and it was coincidental with the debate over the two players wanting the jersey.”
Tedesco wants to stay at Roosters alongside Suaalii
Tedesco didn't touch on the incident directly when speaking about his and Suaalii's future together at the club on Monday. The Roosters captain did stress, however, that he wants to finish his career at the Tri Colours and wants players like Suaalii and gun centre Joseph Manu beside him. When asked if they could co-exist in the same Roosters backline for years to come, Tedesco replied: "100 percent."
"I don't think anyone wants to leave the club. Especially myself, I want to stay for as long as I can," he said. "Having guys like Suaalii and Joey Manu outside me, our spine is pretty dangerous for our team.
"And if we can get us all together playing for many years to come, I think it is really beneficial for the club." Tedesco's management have approached the Roosters about extending the contract of the club skipper, with Suaalii making no secret of his desire to play fullback long-term.
Suaalii is still only 19 and touted as a once-in-a-generation talent, whereas Tedesco is the current New South Wales and Kangaroos captain and still widely regarded as being in his playing prime. If Tedesco was to remain off contract come November, he would undoubtedly attract significant interest on the open market, but the 30-year-old says he hopes it doesn't come to that.
"Of course I want to finish my career here but there is no rush," Tedesco said. "I have two years left on my contract, I am happy with where I am at at the moment. I'm enjoying my career here so far at the Roosters. See what happens. There's no rush."
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