The Wests Tigers are in no rush to lock up James Tedesco long term despite the star fullback rocketing into the stratosphere of the NRL’s elite this year.
A quick glance at Tedesco’s numbers show why he is being spoken about as a smokey for not only Laurie Daley’s NSW side, but also for next month’s Test against New Zealand.
Despite his side being 2-4, the 23-year-old leads the league for tries (eight), line breaks (eight) and tackle busts (36), according to Fox Sports Stats.
Hit by injury from the first game of his career, suffering an ACL tear in his 2012 debut which kept him out for the next 12 months, Tedesco is being sized up for representative honours this year.
He has single-handedly kept his side in many games, scoring 25 tries in his past 30 appearances.
He also shapes as a key on Sunday to breaking their four-game losing streak against Melbourne, after destroying them in the corresponding game last year.
In that match, also played at Leichhardt Oval, Tedesco broke the Storm open with two tries, set up another two, ran 151 metres, made two line breaks, had another two line-break assists and busted nine tackles.
Tedesco is off contract at the end of next season and will be one of the hottest commodities on the market.
And while coach Jason Taylor only had superlatives for his No.1, he said they had not begun negotiations for an extension.
“His start to the season has been superb,” Taylor said.
“At the back end of last year, we started to find him more, we started to put him in those positions where he could create that stuff and finish things off and we’ve started the season doing that as well.
“The guys provide him with good opportunity, which I think is important, but I think he’s as good as any player in the game and I think he’ll continue to prove that – he’s still very young.”