NSW fullback James Tedesco says a clever plan from coach Brad Fittler was behind his man-of-the-match performance in NSW’s Origin game one win against Queensland.
Tedesco was more than a handful for the Maroons in the series opener at the MCG on Wednesday night, crossing for a try and setting up two others in one of the finest games for a NSW player in recent memory.
But the Blues flyer says his crafty coach’s implementation of tight-fitting jerseys for the Blues squad, played a major factor in the 22-12 win.
“I just thought every time there was a quick play the ball I should take them on, Freddy encourages us to take them on,” Tedesco said after the match.
“I saw a bit of lazy work from marker and took them on. Thank Freddy (Fittler) for the tight jerseys, they couldn’t handle the tight jerseys.
“He got us to get them all fitted tighter. I think it helped, they couldn’t grab them and the boys benefited from it.”
Fittler admitted that he took a leaf out of the Maroons’ playbook when devising the approach around the tighter fitting jerseys.
“I’ve seen Queensland have these jerseys for a long time,” Fittler said.
“Cameron Munster wears them week in week out and it’s part of the game.”
Fittler’s ploy certainly worked in the case of Tedesco, who notched two tackle busts over the 224 metres that he ran in the 10-point win.
Blues halfback James Maloney was an amazing support act for Tedesco, steerage his side to the momentous victory.
The NSW playmaker was in everything – both good and bad – as the Blues turned in a massive second half to overpower Queensland.
Maloney had a hand in the first NSW try after 21 minutes when hooker Damien Cook darted from dummy half and offloaded to the No.6, who found Tedesco on the fly.
But six minutes later the Penrith star also played a key role in the Maroons first try, throwing the pass that was intercepted by Valentine Holmes, with the winger racing 90m to score.
He also threw a forward pass before Queensland’s second try, gifting the Maroons possession which ultimately led to Dan Gagai scoring out wide.
Then he came good.
With the scores locked 12-12 midway through the second half, Maloney put up a bomb – Tom Trbojevic leaping high to take the ball from Holmes and score.
It proved a game-breaker.
Queensland fans questioned whether his final pass for Josh Addo-Carr’s late try was forward but either way, Maloney and the Blues had all the momentum.
Now their task will be to find a way to keep it.