Skipper Tedesco already has Blues backing

Scott Bailey
·2-min read

James Tedesco doesn't know yet what will come out of his mouth in his first pre-game speech as captain at any level, let alone State of Origin.

Tedesco has spoken at length this week about his dearth of experience as a captain, not even leading during his high school days at the rugby league nursery of St Gregory's.

He feels he is ready to communicate with the referee and is largely largely relaxed about the prospect of having to make the call on captain's challenges.

But when it comes to what he says to his teammates as he leads NSW out for the first time, there will be no script.

"I've got nothing yet," Tedesco said.

"I've heard a lot of Boyd (Cordner)'s ones the past few years and they have always been from the heart with plenty of passion and pride.

"If it's a bit robotic you don't get a response from that.

"It'll be a few things of how we want to play.

"But I want to speak as myself and from the heart ... I think that'll get a response."

Tedesco led NSW through their last session on Wednesday, with no injury clouds surrounding the team before the ANZ Stadium showdown.

Whatever Tedesco comes up with on Wednesday night, his teammates already think he's got it down pat.

He addressed the group after Cordner left camp and has made a point to try and alleviate pressure from his under-fire deputy Nathan Cleary.

"He nailed his first speech as captain. I liked it anyway," hooker Damien Cook said.

"I felt pretty good and I was pumped up. I definitely think he's got the motivational factor in him too.

"He's different to Boyd but he more talks about what we've got to do on the field.

"He talks about getting through our sets and making sure we're disciplined with the ball."

Tedesco's former and current teammates know he is someone who will be looked at as an example on the field.

Former Wests Tigers teammate and two-time stand-in NSW skipper Robbie Farah believes the captaincy will only make Tedesco better.

Former Blues No.9 Farah knows Tedesco as well as most, having been impressed when he saw him score a hat-trick the first time he saw him play in under-20s.

"His strength will just be leading by actions," Farah said.

"For me he is the best player in the world, the way he can impact a game of football is second to none.

"If anything, I think the captaincy will bring out the best in him tomorrow night.

"There will be times in the game where things will get tough, no doubt. As Origins do.

"The players will be looking for Teddy's leadership in those moments.

"He'll step up and inspire his teammates."