Advertisement

Tedesco among first to congratulate Edwards on debut

Dylan Edwards has revealed James Tedesco was one of the first people to congratulate him on his NSW selection, with the axed fullback reaching out almost immediately.

Edwards lived up to his workmanlike style on Monday after his call-up, knocking back a chauffeur-driven ride into camp as the only Blue to drive himself to the team hotel.

His arrival with his partner and two daughters in the car came hours after NSW coach Michael Maguire defended the shock decision to pick Edwards ahead of Tedesco in the State of Origin side.

While Maguire offered little reason for his momentous decision to omit Tedesco from his first team as Blues coach, he instead argued it was a gut call to reward Edwards' form and work ethic after his part in Penrith's three straight premierships.

In doing so, Maguire made Tedesco the first Kangaroos captain in history to be dropped from an Origin side, ending the fullback's run of 22 straight matches for the Blues.

Maguire said on Monday that Tedesco had taken the news well, but the pair had not discussed whether the Sydney Roosters fullback had an ambition to play again for NSW.

Instead, one of Tedesco's first acts was to make contact with Edwards.

"He sent me a message, in fact he was one of the first blokes to send me one," Edwards said.

"He just said, 'Congratulations, enjoy the week' and that Origin footy is the best.

"That's all class."

Maguire said he had been won over by Edwards' work rate, with one play against Cronulla on Saturday night sealing the deal for the Blues coach.

With Penrith already leading 28-0, Edwards sprinted from one side of the field to the other to deny Daniel Atkinson a 40-20 then beat a defender on his kick return.

The Panthers No.1 then made another 20-metre run later in the set to help Penrith earn a line drop-out, before they scored a minute later in the same attacking raid.

"That solidified my decision that this is where we're going," Maguire said.

"He's a player who's been playing at the highest level, he's played in four grand finals, we all know his stats and he's won three.

"He's one of the most consistent players I've seen for a long, long time. I just felt from my gut it was the right time to give Dylan the opportunity to play.

"They're always tough (decisions). I have huge respect for all the players.

"But my job is about making decisions for what I believe is going to take the team to success."

Edwards
Dylan Edwards' great form for Penrith earned him the Origin nod (Scott Radford-Chisholm/AAP PHOTOS)

Edwards is hopeful his deep grand final experience will help him cope with the pressure of Origin football.

"We'll have to wait and see (if I'm ready)," he said.

"But we've played in quite a few big games at club land, so it puts you in good stead for this arena I'm pretty sure."