James Tedesco has orchestrated one of the biggest boilovers of the NRL season, putting in a five-star display in the Wests Tigers’ 34-16 win over Melbourne.
Tedesco lit up the 7419-strong crowd at Leichhardt Oval on Friday night, crossing for two tries and setting up another two as the Tigers jumped off the bottom of table and put a dent in the Storm’s top four aspirations.
After the Storm looked to be sailing to an easy win, the zippy No.1 injected himself into the game, having a hand in four of his side’s six tries.
While the side’s top eight hopes were killed off several weeks ago, they eased pressure on coach Jason Taylor as they broke a five-game losing streak.
After the Tigers took a surprise 12-10 halftime lead, the Storm snatched back the advantage at the 44-minute mark when Jesse Bromwich – after beating a biting charge at the judiciary during the week – ran onto a sweet Cooper Cronk ball.
Tedesco then imposed himself on the contest. First he drew Storm winger Matt Duffie to send Pat Richards over before sealing the match in the 69th when he steamed onto a lovely Mitchell Moses short ball.
For the Storm, it was a crucial loss. Not only did they blow a chance to stay in touch with the top four, they could find themselves on the edge of the eight after the weekend.
They looked to be cruising at 10-0 thanks to a Marika Koroibete double inside 16 minutes.
However Koroibete’s night soon turned on a dime as he let in the next three tries, allowing the Tigers to power to a 12-10 advantage at the break.
Tedesco scored his side’s second after burning Koroibete for pace on the outside.
He then threw the last pass when Koroibete came rushing in off his wing to send Kevin Naiqama sailing over just before the halftime siren.