James Tedesco has had the last laugh after helping the Sydney Roosters drive the final nail in Wests Tigers' NRL playoff hopes with a 38-16 hammering at Leichhardt Oval.
In his first appearance at the Tigers' spiritual home since defecting from the joint venture outfit at the end of 2017, Tedesco was jeered with his every touch of the ball on Saturday night.
"I was sprayed the whole game. They were pretty brutal," Tedesco said of the Tigers' faithful fans who once idolised the former Dally M player of the year.
He also had his pants pulled down, literally, in one tackle and was left winded by a brute of a hit from Tigers forward Luke Garner.
But Tedesco was still among the most influential players on the field, two clean breaks from the superstar fullback leading to the Roosters' first two tries for wingers Matt Ikuvalu and Brett Morris inside the opening quarter of an hour.
"I thought 'Teddy' was great tonight. I thought he was everywhere. He tried so hard in lots of different areas," said Roosters coach Trent Robinson.
"He made a couple of breaks early in the game. The first half he was right there and even their last try, he did a lot to try to stop it. He was the power tackler in that tackle.
"I thought he was really busy tonight."
Despite a mini mid-match revival, the Tigers couldn't recover from the early blitz, with Morris bagging a first-half double and his brother Josh also crossing as the Roosters took a match-winning 20-0 lead to the break.
Tries to Jacob Liddle and Adam Doueihi briefly reduced the deficit to eight points before Tedesco typically intervened to put the game to bed.
He broke Tigers hearts with a flat inside pass that led to Roosters five-eighth Drew Hutchinson crashing over under the sticks to restore the premiers' 14-point advantage.
Joey Manu and a second try for Josh Morris completed the drubbing.
Still four points adrift of the eight, the Tigers must win their remaining five matches to have any chance of scraping into the finals for the first time since 2011.
But given they face top-eight rivals in every outing, including the pace-setting Panthers next Saturday night at Penrith, that looks a forlorn proposition for Michael Maguire's men.
While the league's longest finals drought seems certain to continue, Tedesco and the Roosters remain firmly in the hunt for an historic third straight title after preserving their place in the all-important top four in style.
Coach Trent Robinson is expecting several more big-name troops back from injury in coming weeks, including co-captain Boyd Cordner and playmaker Luke Keary, not to mention Sonny Bill Williams' looming return almost six years after leaving Bondi Junction for a second stint in rugby.
But Saturday night's win did come at a cost, with Ikuvalu joining the Roosters' overflowing casualty ward after being carried off with an ankle injury in the first half.