James Tedesco speaks out as Queensland legends rip NSW over 'embarrassing' Origin move

Gorden Tallis and Cameron Smith have questioned the Blues over the stunning backflip for State of Origin.

James Tedesco has dismissed any concerns about his stunning recall to the NSW State of Origin team after Gorden Tallis and Cameron Smith both highlighted the awkward nature of the situation. Tedesco was brought back into the Blues team on Sunday - just seven days after he was sensationally axed by new coach Michael Maguire.

Maguire initially went with Dylan Edwards as his fullback, marking the first time the current Australian Kangaroos captain has ever been dumped from their State of Origin team. But with Edwards suffering a quad strain at training on Saturday, Maguire went straight back to Tedesco.

Gorden Tallis, James Tedesco and Cameron Smith.
Gorden Tallis and Cameron Smith have called out the awkwardness of James Tedesco's recall to the NSW State of Origin team. Image: Getty

"I've played in a couple of these before, so I know what it takes," Tedesco said on Sunday. "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.

"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."

The former captain 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."

James Tedesco in State of Origin in 2022.
James Tedesco in action for NSW in State of Origin in 2022.

Earlier on Sunday, former Queensland captain Tallis ripped the Blues over the 'embarrassing' move to dump Tedesco initially and then bring him back. “If I was dropped and then called back in, there would be a feeling of embarrassment,” he told the Courier Mail.

“It’s strange that they have looked backwards again with Tedesco. NSW were looking to the future with Edwards and they should have stuck to that philosophy of looking ahead. It’s a strange feeling for ‘Teddy’.

“Edwards will still be around him in camp, it has a touch of weirdness about it. Teddy would be a bit uncomfortable. And what happens in Game II now? Do they drop Tedesco again?

“I would have loved to be a fly on the wall having the conversation with Teddy and they (NSW) are pretending they wanted you in. It’s not like Teddy is a young rookie being called in, he would have been disappointed and pissed off at being dropped as captain."

Speaking on the Sunday Footy Show, fellow Maroons champion Smith also pointed out the awkwardness of it all. "When the decision was made to include Dylan Edwards as fullback, it was a little bit divisive. Half the fans said James Tedesco should have been given another opportunity," he said.

"I think Teddy's got a little bit to prove. He's lost his captaincy. He's lost his spot as the No.1 fullback for the NSW footy side, and I actually feel as though this is a little bit more dangerous for Queensland than it is for NSW.

"This is the awkward position that now the Blues are in. If Teddy was to go out and have a big game, the Blues were to win and he was instrumental in it, it could be a little bit of an awkward discussion around the selection table."


But NSW legends Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler reckon there won't be any issues. "All new combinations with Teddy going to fullback and combinations in rep games are so important. I think it's really good that they get the experience of Tedesco," Johns said.

"Nicho (Hynes) has played one game off the bench, Jarome (Luai) has played seven and Reece Robson has started one game and one off the bench. It just gives them some experience."

Fittler added: "Teddy is the type of bloke who will see this as the greatest opportunity to prove himself. I was surprised he didn't get picked in the first place, but he will see this is as a massive challenge to prove not only to the coach, but to everyone.

"I don't know how warm it's going to be (between Maguire and Tedesco). If you've been dropped, you're not feeling good. It would be the least amount of words as possible. It's the opportunity to do a job here … he's definitely the man to do it."