Finals or not, James Tedesco is already planning on a Wests Tigers NRL dynasty, believing the joint venture’s gun young playmakers can replicate the dominating era of star Melbourne trio Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk.
In an ultimate show of faith in coach Jason Taylor, the Tigers’ No.1 has pencilled in a sales pitch to teammates Mitchell Moses and Luke Brooks over the summer to remain at the club long term.
All three stars come off contract at the end of next season but, given their recent run of wins, Tedesco is adamant their best chance of success in the NRL is by sticking together in Tigerland.
“All three of us know we play our best footy when we’re all together and, footy-wise, it would be best if we can stay together,” he said on Wednesday.
“Obviously, it’s going to be hard.
“But with how we’ve been going the last few weeks, it’s pretty clear there’s something special going on here and, if we can keep that going for the next few years, that will be good for us.”
So enamoured is Tedesco with the club’s vein of form that the NSW State of Origin fullback would consider taking a pay cut to stay.
He’d even try to convince the other two into doing the same and, in doing so, hope to usher in a new era to follow on from the long-running reign of the Storm’s Smith, Slater and Cronk.
“We haven’t crossed that bridge yet, but I think we probably could talk about that,” Tedesco said.
“You see a team like the Storm with Slater, Smith and Cronk, who have been able to stay together their whole careers, and they’ve really built something special down there.
“It’s an opportunity for us and we’ll just have to see how it goes with management.”
Tedesco said he recently knocked back an approach from the club to begin talks on a contract extension, but would be ready to take a seat at the table at the end of the season.
With four games to go in the regular season, the 9th-placed Tigers remain in the hunt for a finals spot.
“I’ve said I wanted to focus on my footy and we’ll finish this year. Then we’ll get to talks after that,” he said.
Tedesco’s confidence in the club comes just weeks after Taylor’s controversial decision to axe veteran Robbie Farah from first grade, handing the reins to the next generation.
The 23-year-old, who was talked into backflipping on a deal with Canberra in 2014 by Farah, said he always had belief the team could perform without the former captain.
“We knew what JT had in mind and he analyses our games every day and night,” he said.
“Whatever JT’s plans were, we all had belief in them. (Aaron) Woods has done a good job of getting us away from the media and not reading too much into stories and staying focused on our game.”