Already marked for NSW duty, Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco has history in his sights ahead of Saturday night’s NRL clash on the Gold Coast.
State of Origin hopeful Tedesco can become the first player in 68 years and only third in history to notch eight tries in the first three rounds.
The rampaging No.1 has crossed five times to date thanks to a career-first hat-trick last round against a hapless Manly.
Tigers coach Jason Taylor admitted Tedesco was ready for Origin after three line breaks, one try assist, 11 tackle busts and running for more than 150m against the Sea Eagles.
And Tedesco is primed to continue his try-scoring ways against a Titans outfit with their left-edge defence in tatters after their last-round loss to Melbourne.
Tedesco has scored in his past three games against Gold Coast.
Titans coach Neil Henry was left wondering how to limit Tedesco’s influence on Saturday night’s clash with the unbeaten Tigers.
“At fullback, he is going to get his hands on the ball,” he said.
“He’s great on his feet, a great carrier of the ball and in a confident frame of mind.
“It’s up to our kickers to be a bit better than they were last week.
“But his biggest threat has been in attack.
“All we can do about that is trying to get some territorial advantage by limiting their time in our half.”
Eight tries have only been scored by a player in the first three rounds twice – in 1935 and 1948.
Henry said his left-edge defence had plenty of homework to do.
It was torn apart by Melbourne last weekend, with halfback Ash Taylor and centre Josh Hoffman left exposed.
Henry said there would be no excuses if there was a repeat, even if sparked by Tedesco.
“We still need to get our basics right,” Henry said.
“There are no excuses for some of the decisions that were made.”
Meanwhile, Henry is mulling over whether to replace centre Nathan Davis (shoulder) with John Olive or former Maroons back-rower Chris McQueen.
KEY STATS – TITANS v TIGERS:
* Gold Coast have won four straight home matches for the first time since 2010
* This is the Tigers’ 400th appearance as a joint venture
* The Tigers have never won their opening three matches of the season; Balmain last did it in 1989 and Wests last did it in 1980
* The Tigers have scored a total 150 points in their past four matches putting on at least 30 points in each match; only two teams have scored 30-plus points in five straight games since 2005