They’ve lost their Teddy but the Wests Tigers deny being toothless without the star No.1.
The Tigers’ charge towards an unlikely top-eight berth copped a double hammer blow on Saturday when fullback James Tedesco suffered a broken jaw in a 19-18 loss to a Jarryd Hayne-inspired Gold Coast.
The club confirmed Tedesco had suffered a fractured jaw and would consult a specialist on Monday. He is almost certain to miss the rest of the season.
Tedesco was assisted from Campbelltown Stadium after being collared by Titans prop Ryan James and was taken to hospital.
The 23-year-old has been a shining light for the club this year and it’s hard to imagine the joint venture being a force without him.
Coming into round 23, the NSW Origin custodian was fifth on the league’s try-scorer’s list with 14, and is in the top 10 for several major attacking stats including linebreaks and tackle busts.
However, Taylor insisted they were more than a one-man team and rubbished suggestions they were a spent force without him.
Asked if they could still make the top eight, Taylor said: “Absolutely.
“It’s on the back of our performances and we were still behind when James went off and the guys really rallied so there’s no reason we can’t do that.
“Jordan Rankin (who filled in for Tedesco at fullback) was superb so the confidence is still high but we have to get on with it.”
The Tigers are in 10th on 24 points but will find themselves three points outside the eight if Penrith defeat last-placed Newcastle on Sunday.
Their cause was helped when Warriors suffered a surprise loss to South Sydney on Saturday but Taylor’s team have a tough run home against the Panthers, Warriors and Canberra.
They will be boosted by the return of halfback Luke Brooks next week after he missed the last fortnight with a knee injury.