James Tedesco has been told by Blues official he can stake his claim for a future NSW jumper by proving himself a multi-positional talent in Sunday’s City-Country clash in Wagga Wagga.
The Wests Tigers fullback was a late call up NSW City following the withdrawal of Dylan Walker due to a knee injury.
However with Penrith’s Matt Moylan filling the custodian role for City, Tedesco has been shifted to the unfamiliar position of wing.
Rather than kick stones, City coach and NSW assistant Brad Fittler encouraged his charge to follow in the footsteps of Josh Dugan.
Last year Dugan moved from No.1 to centre in an effort to fit into the NSW line up and Fittler said Origin selectors would look favourably upon any player who could prove his versatility.
While NSW coach Laurie Daley has previously stated Tedesco is out of the running to wear the Blues No.1 jersey – with Dugan, Moylan and Manly’s Brett Stewart the contenders – Fittler said Tedesco could still send a message.
“I think he might get a chance to show that he can play two positions,” he said.
“That would enhance his chances if there are injuries.
“Hopefully it works in his favour. He’s such a good player and a tough kid.”
Tedesco has played just three NRL games on the wing – when he returned from an ACL injury in 2013 – and said he was not fazed by having to line up out of position.
The 22-year-old has been injury-plagued from his very first game – suffering a season-ending knee injury in his debut in round 1 2012 and spending most of last year on the sidelines because of a torn patella.
Because of the interruptions to his first three seasons of top grade, Tedesco said he did not consider himself a chance for representative selection this year and believed he would have to wait until at least 2016 for higher honours.
“It’s a great chance to showcase your skills up against guys that have played Origin and guys that are looking for spots in Origin,” he said.
“I wasn’t really expecting it but I’m happy to take it.
“I wasn’t really looking to play representative football this year, I just wanted to have a solid year and get through and look for more of these things next year.”