NSW State of Origin hopeful James Tedesco insists his best spot is at fullback, not on the wing.
The Wests Tigers fullback is considered a strong chance of finally making his Blues debut when coach Laurie Daley names his team for the game three on Monday.
However Tedesco’s belated opportunity is likely to come in the unfamiliar role of winger, in place of Blake Ferguson, with Daley understood to be hesitant to axe No. 1 Matt Moylan in his rookie series.
Tedesco said he is keen to simply pull on the Blues jumper for the first time, but didn’t shy away when asked which position he’d prefer to play against Queensland.
“If I do get any chance to play Origin and put on that jersey, it’s a great opportunity. But I’m definitely more comfortable at fullback and that’s where I think I play my best footy,” Tedesco told AAP.
The 23-year-old claimed a points decision victory over his NSW rival in the Tigers’ 34-26 NRL win over Penrith on Saturday night, setting up two crucial tries either side of halftime in a strong outing.
Tedesco burned fellow Blues hopeful Bryce Cartwright on both occasions, exposing the Panther’s lack of pace as a fill-in five-eighth that could deny him his own Origin debut.
The Tigers fullback admitted targeting Cartwright was a pre-meditated move.
“We know he’s more of a back-rower and he’s probably not suited to checking and releasing. So the plan was to use my speed out there to get on the outside of him and that worked a few times,” Tedesco said.
In what was the first career meeting between Tedesco and Moylan, the Panthers skipper also put his stamp on the game with two try involvements that set up an early lead.
The only other time the pair have met was in a NSW City Origin camp in 2015, when Moylan played fullback and Tedesco was experimented with on the wing.
Blues legend Brad Fittler believes Tedesco is a big chance of getting the call-up.
“His speed is just unbelievable,” Fittler told The Sunday Footy Show.
“I remember asking Sam Thaiday who he wouldn’t want to tackle bringing the ball back, and he said James Tedesco.
“He’s getting over the defensive problems he had earlier in his career and he’s looking nice and strong there at fullback.”
Meanwhile, veteran Greg Bird is another who faces the chop as the Blues seek to bring in some more new blood, with Cronulla forward Wade Graham likely to take his place.
The possible selection of both Tedesco and Graham would lift the number of Blues debutants in this series to eight.
Possible NSW side: Matt Moylan, James Tedesco, Michael Jennings, Dylan Walker, Josh Mansour, James Maloney, Adam Reynolds, Aaron Woods, Robbie Farah, James Tamou, Josh Jackson, Tyson Frizell, Paul Gallen (c). Interchange: David Klemmer, Andrew Fifita, Wade Graham, Jack Bird.