NRL rivals on Saturday and NSW Origin teammates on Monday – that’s the scenario fullbacks James Tedesco and Matt Moylan hope comes to fruition.
Wests Tigers No.1 Tedesco and Penrith skipper Moylan will face off in a tantalising duel in their side’s clash at ANZ Stadium.
While Moylan is tipped to retain his spot at fullback for the Blues, it’s understood Tedesco is a strong chance to replace out-of-form Sydney Roosters utility Blake Ferguson on the wing when the NSW squad for game three is announced on Monday morning.
Calls have come thick and fast for Tedesco to be named by Laurie Daley after producing irresistible form since returning from a shoulder injury.
The Tigers maestro had one hand on the Blues No.1 jumper before game one but went down with the injury against South Sydney, opening the door for Moylan, who handled himself with aplomb in the two losses to Queensland.
Daley said he’s having a hard look at Tedesco and Tigers coach Jason Taylor insists his charge wasn’t showing any signs of letting the pressure get to him.
“Teddy’s been handling that expectation all season and probably for a couple of seasons now,” Taylor said.
“We’ve worked hard as a team this week on how we want to play and what Teddy’s involvement is in that.
“Teddy’s the last person who’s going to put any of that stuff ahead of what he needs to do for the Wests Tigers.”
In 12 matches this year, Tedesco has been in sparking form scoring 11 tries and could hardly have done more to demand selection.
Penrith coach Anthony Griffin said it would be unfair to drop Moylan after he was a shining light for NSW in the opening two games.
“I think Matt Moylan’s been one of NSW’s best players in both games,” Griffin said.
“I don’t see any reason why they should be questioning Matt Moylan.
“I can understand their frustration with not winning games. But I wouldn’t be questioning Matt Moylan’s performances.”
Meanwhile Tigers hookers Robbie Farah and Dene Halatau have both been cleared of head knocks to face the Panthers.
The club will also holds its first legends day, with past greats from Wests Magpies, Balmain Tigers and Wests Tigers, such as Tommy Raudonikis, Garry Jack and John Skandalis, to be presented to the crowd at halftime.
STATS THAT MATTER
* The Tigers are conceding just over 25 points per game this season, only Newcastle is conceding more (34.7 per game).
* The Panthers are aiming to win three straight for the first time since 2014.
* Penrith’s Bryce Cartwright has won four out of his past five games when starting at five-eighth.