Tedesco ready to lead NSW without Cordner

·2-min read

The NSW captaincy was thrust upon him unexpectedly last year, but ahead of Wednesday's State of Origin opener James Tedesco finally feels confident in his ability to carry the responsibility.

But he still misses his mate.

With Boyd Cordner sidelined with concussion concerns, his Sydney Roosters teammate Tedesco has taken on the leadership job at club and state level.

Cordner is yet to make it back on the NRL field after suffering a concussion in last year's series opener in Adelaide.

Blues coach Brad Fittler has confirmed Cordner won't be picked at all to play for the Blues this season, although he's nearing a return for the Roosters.

Tedesco, especially, is missing his presence in both teams.

"He's looking fitter and stronger than ever, which is hard to believe but he looks really refreshed," Tedesco told AAP.

"I can't wait to get back playing with him, it's been a little while.

"You miss his presence everywhere, I guess.

"I miss his presence at Roosters as well. He has that as a person, when he talks or the way he plays, people want to follow him and he's a great leader.

"I miss him."

The captaincy was a weight that didn't sit completely comfortably with Tedesco in 2020 but with another series under his belt he's warmed into his role as the Blues' elder statesman.

The 28-year-old is the most-capped Blues player in Brad Fittler's side with 13 Origins, with Nathan Cleary, Damien Cook and Josh Addo-Carr closing in on him.

But in a side stacked with rising young stars and a handful of rookies, Tedesco is forced to put his own Blues career into perspective.

"Last year I hadn't really done it before and now this year I'm doing it at the Roosters and getting to go again here at Origin," he said.

"I definitely feel more comfortable as a leader and being the guy to look upon at training and in the games.

"It's funny, you come in as a young bloke and and you're the young guy and a few years later you're the experienced oldest guy, it's funny how it changes like that.

"It shows how much people grow, someone like Nathan (Cleary) as well, he came in at a young age in about 2018 and three years later he's grown into such a great leader and a great player.

"It's cool to watch."