James Tedesco

James Tedesco
Personal information
Nickname Teddy[1]
Born (1993-01-08) 8 January 1993
Ryde, New South Wales, Australia
Height 180 cm (5 ft 11 in)
Weight 93 kg (14 st 9 lb)
Playing information
Position Fullback, Centre, Wing
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2012– Wests Tigers 69 45 0 0 180
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2013–15 NSW City 2 1 0 0 4
2013 Italy 3 1 0 0 4
2016 New South Wales 1 0 0 0 0
2016 Prime Minister's XIII 1 0 0 0 0
As of 13 July 2016
Source: [2]

James Tedesco (born 8 January 1993) is an Australian professional rugby league footballer who currently plays for the Wests Tigers of the National Rugby League. Primarily a fullback, Tedesco has also played centre and wing.[3] Tedesco is a New South Wales, New South Wales City and Italian national representative.


Born in the northern Sydney suburb of Ryde, Tedesco is of Italian descent. He was raised on a hundred hectare property in Menangle in Sydney's south west, complete with his own football field with goal posts.[4] Tedesco played his junior football with the Camden Rams. His father said of his early years, "James couldn't even make the junior rep squad for Wests when he was 14, and from then on he's always sort of scraped in. But once he's made those teams, he's gone on to finish as the best player."[5]

Tedesco was a student of St Gregory's College, Campbelltown, and was in year 7 when Chris Lawrence was studying year 12.[6] In the Harold Matthews Cup competition he played on the wing for the Western Suburbs Magpies, with David Nofoaluma at fullback. In 2010, he made the Australian Schoolboys team. "I made the Australian Schoolboys and I learnt to just have confidence in my own ability. I realised it was there – that I had a bit of talent – I just needed the confidence to show it," he said.[4]

Tedesco commenced the 2011 season playing in the S. G. Ball Cup, but was promoted to the Wests Tigers NYC team from round 13. In just his 3rd game he equalled the club record of scoring 4 tries in one match,[7] and went on to be named the team's player of the year.[8]

Playing career


Attracting the attention of other clubs, Tedesco was the focus of a "bidding war" between the Wests Tigers and St George,[5] resulting in the Tigers signing him until the end of 2014.[8] Weeks later he was named at fullback for the team's first trial-match for the year. However, coach Tim Sheens said he was unlikely to be playing at fullback at the start of the regular season, saying, "'I don't necessarily want to throw that on him at this point. I've got some experienced options."[9]

Having played well in both pre-season trials, Tedesco was named in the starting team to play the Cronulla Sharks in the first game of the season. After showing potential in the early stages of the game, Tedesco suffered an injury to his knee in the 30th minute. The tear to the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee was the end of his season. Team-mate Benji Marshall said, "Just seeing his reaction in the sheds, he was crying in there and it brought a tear to a few of the boys' eyes as well, because we see him as such a great talent and he's fitted into the squad well and he's a really good kid."[10] The Tigers later won the match 17-16 in golden point extra time at Leichhardt Oval.[11]


Tedesco returned to first grade in Round 4 of the 2013 season, and played on the wing for four weeks.[12] In April, he was chosen to play for NSW City in the annual City vs Country Origin match. Having only appeared in 4 NRL matches at that time, he was the least experienced player to ever participate in the match. "When they called me up, I thought it was a joke. Even when Brad Fittler got on the phone I didn't think it was real. It was also a problem, because I didn't know whether I was eligible for City or Country," Tedesco said.[13] Tedesco played at fullback in City's 18-12 loss at Coffs Harbour.

With Tim Moltzen moving to halfback, and then a suffering a season-ending injury, Tedesco played most of the rest of the season at fullback, scoring 8 tries in 19 matches. He spent months playing with a cracked fibula, after being advised that he was unlikely to make the injury any worse by playing. Tedesco said the leg was painful when knocked. "It does kill for about five minutes or so, then you run it off and it goes away." he said.[14] At the end of the season, Tedesco was chosen to represent Italy at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. With Anthony Minichiello captaining and playing at fullback, Tedesco played at right centre for the three games. In his international debut, he scored a try as Italy defeated Wales 32-16.[15]


In February, Tedesco was selected in the Tigers inaugural Auckland Nines squad.[16] On 27 May, he signed a 3-year contract with the Canberra Raiders starting in 2015.[17] A week later, Tedesco back flipped on his deal with the Raiders to stay with the Tigers.[18] During the Round 16 clash with the Raiders, Tedesco lasted 15 seconds before he fractured his patella. Tedesco missed the rest of the season. He had the same injury as Tim Moltzen. Tedesco said, "“On Twitter Canberra fans would say ‘I hope you break your legs’ and stuff like that and then I play Canberra and it happens. It is a bit weird. It was just a freak accident." Before the end of the year, Tedesco had returned to sprint training and was adjusting his running style to be less "low to the ground".[19] He finished the NRL season with 8 matches and 6 tries.


After an "eye-catching" display in round 2,[20] Tedesco was touted as a possible State of Origin selection. While Tedesco said he felt ready to play in the representative matches, coach Jason Taylor said, "I think that's too early. It was a really good first half and he showed what he can do, but I think that's a bit too early for where he's at."[21]

Between 19 August 2013 and round 7 of the 2015 season, Tedesco had scored 18 tries in 19 appearances. He played in every game of 2015 and was the competition's leader for tackle breaks[22] and the third highest try-scorer.[23] From round 10 onwards, Tedesco ran for over 100 metres in each game,[24] with the fourth highest total in the competition. He was named in the NRL website's Team of the Year[25] and was a finalist for the RLPA's highest honour, the Player's Player.[26]


Tedesco started the 2016 season by scoring 2 tries against the New Zealand Warriors in round 1 and his first career hat-trick against the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles in round 2. He suffered a shoulder injury in round 9, not playing in the second half of the match, and making him unavailable for the City Origin side.[27] At the time of his injury he was the competition's leading try-scorer.[28]

Considered a certainty to play for New South Wales in the first match of the State of Origin series, he was still unavailable due to injury,[29] and was not selected for the 2nd when he returned from injury only weeks before. Making his debut in game 3, he ran for 258 metres, the most of any player in the game, as NSW won their only match of the series.[30] It was said he, "Showed enough in 80 minutes to suggest the No.1 jersey will be his for many years to come."[31]

With Wests Tigers fighting to make the semis towards the end of the year, Tedesco had his jaw broken in a tackle from Ryan James, ending his season. He scored 14 tries in 17 matches with the Tigers.[32] He recovered to represent the Prime Minister's XIII against Papua New Guinea, but left the field with concussion in the first half. [33] He was named the fullback in the Dally M team of the year.[34]


Early in his career, Tedesco studied to be a PE Teacher at the Strathfield campus of Australian Catholic University.[35]


  1. "Why James Tedesco will steer clear of Robbie Farah in NSW Blues camp — Media Watch". Fox Sports.
  2. James Tedesco rugbyleagueproject.org
  3. Profile at Tigers
  4. 1 2 Daniel Lane (27 March 2016). "Why Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco has to battle his natural instincts". Canberra Times. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  5. 1 2 Josh Massoud (4 March 2012). "Young Tiger James Tedesco's backyard field of gold". Sunday Telegraph (Sydney). Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  6. Scott Dougherty (1 March 2012). "Tedesco hopes for class of Lawrence". Central Midlands and Coastal Advocate. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  7. "James Tedesco". weststigers.com.au. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  8. 1 2 Michael Chammas (9 February 2012). "He must earn his stripes, but Tigers' No.1 is for Tedesco". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  9. Michael Chammas (15 February 2012). "Tedesco sorcery set to spice up Tigers for Chooks trial but rookie will go back in bottle for round one". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  10. Greg Prichard (5 March 2012). "Sheens keeps the faith as Tedesco's debut ends in tears". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  11. "Lowdown on Wests Tigers vs Cronulla Sharks round one NRL clash". Daily Telegraph.
  12. Steve Jancetic. "Manly Sea Eagles conquer wet conditions to thrash Wests Tigers 26-0 at Bluetongue Stadium". Fox Sports.
  13. Josh Massoud (16 April 2013). "Wests Tigers' James Tedesco and Curtis Sironen promoted to City team". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  14. Roje Adaimy (17 August 2013). "Wests Tigers NRL young gun James Tedesco plays on with leg fracture". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  15. "Wales vs. Italy". Rugby League Project. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  16. "Squads For Auckland Nines". Rugby League Week. 2014-02-14. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  17. Jon Tuxworth (2014-05-27). "Canberra Raiders sign James Tedesco, but miss out on Kevin Proctor". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  18. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/wests-tigers-fullback-james-tedesco-backflips-on-threeyear-canberra-raiders-deal/story-fni3fbgz-1226943463069
  19. Ryan, Nathan (2 December 2014). "James Tedesco learning to run again as Wests Tigers try to keep him injury free". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  20. MacSmith, James (18 March 2015). "Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco believes he's ready for State of Origin cauldron". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  21. Encarnacion, Matt (18 March 2015). "Benji's care tactics". nrl.com. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  22. "Tackle Breaks". nrl.com. Archived from the original on 7 September 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  23. "Tries". nrl.com. Archived from the original on 7 September 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  24. "James Tedesco". nrl.com. 7 September 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  25. Jack Brady (9 September 2015). "NRL.com's 2015 Team of the Year". nrl.com. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  26. "Thurston reigns at RLPA Awards". RLPA. 16 September 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  27. "Fractured shoulder rules Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco out for City Origin". Fox Sports.
  28. "Tries". nrl.com. Archived from the original on 8 May 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  29. Michael Chammas (2 May 2016). "wests-tigers-fullback-james-tedesco-to-miss-state-of-origin-opener-with-injury". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  30. "Blues vs Maroons". nrl.com.au.
  31. Martin Gabor (13 July 2016). "Origin III: NSW player ratings". nrl.com.au.
  32. Matt Encarnacion. "Broken jaw ends Tedesco's season". nrl.com.
  33. "Australian PM's league XIII trounce Papua New Guinea". The Guardian.
  34. Christian Nicolussi. "Dally M 2016 team of the year: Cooper Cronk edges Johnathan Thurston". Daily Telegraph.
  35. "Time for tears is over as Tedesco focuses on long road to recovery". Sydney Morning Herald. 5 April 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
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