With James Tedesco’s childhood dream of the NSW No.1 jumper within touching distance, Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor guarantees he won’t wilt under the pressure.
Tedesco is primed for a head-to-head duel with Matt Moylan for the Blues’ fullback spot in Saturday’s NRL clash with Penrith at ANZ Stadium.
NSW coach Laurie Daley said he’s having a hard look at Tedesco for game three and 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.
“I’m comfortable that he knows what to do. 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.”
Tedesco was unlucky to miss out on a Blues berth for game one after being ruled out through a shoulder injury but Taylor said he couldn’t understand why he hadn’t unseated Moylan for game two.
In 12 matches this year, Tedesco has been in sparking form scoring 11 tries and could hardly have done more to demand selection.
Daley has thrown around the idea of picking both Moylan and Tedesco and using one on either the wing or as a bench utility.
“It’s an opportunity to get him into a position that he’s probably wanted to be in his whole life,” Taylor said.
“I know how passionate he is about it and how long he’s dreamt about it.
“But the key thing for Teddy, and all of us, is to focus on our game and do the hard work and then that stuff will come on top of it and we’ll give Teddy an opportunity to show what he can do.”
Meanwhile Tigers hookers Robbie Farah and Dene Halatau have both been cleared of head knocks to face the Panthers.