Wests Tigers say a simple game plan is behind their surge in recent weeks: give it to Teddy.
The Tigers will be shooting for three straight NRL wins for the first time this season when they take on Newcastle at Campbelltown on Saturday afternoon.
After finding themselves at the bottom of the NRL ladder after the representative period, the side went back to the drawing board and resolved to get the ball in the hands of budding superstar James Tedesco more often.
The plan to play a more free-flowing and less structured style of football is bearing fruits already with their two wins against Melbourne and Canberra coming on the back of standout performances by the No.1.
In their last two outings, Tedesco’s stats have been phenomenal – three tries, three try assists, six linebreaks, two linebreak assists, 16 tackle busts and 368 running metres.
“We’re just a completely different team with him in the side,” Tigers skipper Robbie Farah said.
“He’s a special player and I’d hate to think how we’d be going without him.
“Above all that he’s a really good kid. He’s a professional kid, he’s a respectful kid.
“He works hard and you’ve seen that right from day dot.”
Farah says he shudders to think where the side would be had he not intervened and convinced Tedesco to renege on a deal to join Canberra last season.
Instead he came back to haunt the Raiders on Monday night, scoring one try and setting up Luke Brook’s match winner.
Farah backed the Tigers’ custodian to break into the NSW side in the next few years and predicted the Tigers would build success around him in seasons to come.
“Everyone knows I’ve got a man-crush on the kid. I did on the first day I saw him,” Farah said.
“I just remember going home and telling everyone he was the best young kid I’d seen and my opinion hasn’t changed.
“It’s why I worked so hard last year to make sure he stayed at the Tigers and I’m glad he’s wearing our colours and carving up like he is.
“I thought it was the best thing for his footy and I think it’s showed this year.
“There’s no limits on how far he can go and what he can achieve in the next few years.
“I’ve got no doubt that he’ll be wearing a NSW jumper and an Australian jumper.”