Numbers show Rooster Tedesco is still No.1

·3-min read

Massages, ice-baths and stretches. It's what keeps James Tedesco on the field and makes him the best-value fullback in the NRL.

The 29-year-old's worth is best exemplified by the fact only Parramatta's Clint Gutherson has played more games than him in the past three seasons as a big-earning No.1.

While Tedesco has managed 64 NRL games since the start of 2020 plus State of Origins, Dylan Edwards has played 57, Kalyn Ponga 48, Ryan Papenhuyzen 47 and Tom Trbojevic only 32.

His rival this week in Latrell Mitchell has chalked up 45 for South Sydney, with injuries and suspensions making Sunday's final his first for the club since arriving in 2020.

It makes Tedesco's million-dollar salary worth every cent.

So how does he keep injury free?

Twice each week Tedesco visits the office of manager Joe Wehbe to see a masseuse.

"It's a full-time thing," Tedesco told AAP. "After training I get massages, two times a week for a couple of hours.

"It's massages, it's stretching and other stuff for recovery like ice baths.

"I've been doing that since probably 2015. It's just become a part of my routine and it's helped me a lot."

The Sydney Roosters captain said the extra four hours per week was required given the demands of the No.1.

"There are a lot of guys going through injuries in that position. It's tough.

"The way fullbacks play these days, we're in every play, we're in collisions.

"I know now I've been really good with my body but I missed a lot of games through the start of my career with that.

"You can't just expect to train and play and your body's going to be right.

"It takes such a hammering for 80 minutes and in and around training. You've got to look after it."

Tedesco has never missed two straight games through injury in his five years at the Roosters which is remarkable given the pain and anguish suffered by Trbojevic, Papenhuyzen and Mitchell in recent seasons.

Tedesco has learnt from his early injuries after tearing his ACL on debut for Wests Tigers in 2012, playing through the pain of a cracked bone in his leg the next season and fracturing his kneecap in 2014.

"It takes a lot of devastation and disappointment to go through, but I definitely learnt a lot about the NRL grind and my body as well during that time.

"There are probably some young guys learning that as well.

"Paps messaged me (after his blow), we had the same injury with the kneecap. He was asking me for tips that helped me that could help him.

"Tommy too. It's important to pass that on."

GAMES FOR BIG-MONEY FULLBACKS SINCE 2020

Clint Gutherson: 71

James Tedesco: 64

Dylan Edwards: 57

Kalyn Ponga: 48

Ryan Papenhuyzen: 47

Latrell Mitchell: 45

Tom Trbojevic: 32