Tedesco’s NSW recall leaves Maguire with more questions

George Clarke |

James Tedesco and his Blues teammates have endured a tough night at Accor Stadium.
James Tedesco and his Blues teammates have endured a tough night at Accor Stadium.

Michael Maguire must decide whether to stick loyal to James Tedesco or gamble on the fitness of Dylan Edwards as NSW fight to keep the State of Origin series alive in Game II.

Maguire’s side will head to Melbourne on June 26 with more questions over his team selections after his Origin coaching bow was rocked by an eighth-minute send-off for Joseph Suaalii.

The dismissal of the rugby union-bound centre threw the Blues into disarray as Queensland ran away with a 38-10 victory in Sydney on Wednesday night.

Tedesco’s continued involvement in Maguire’s set-up is likely to come under fresh scrutiny after his NSW recall was marked by an up-and-down evening.

James Tedesco.
James Tedesco was under pressure all night at the back for NSW. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS)

Despite calls for Penrith fullback Edwards to be handed the No.1 jersey for the last two seasons, Maguire’s predecessor Brad Fittler had shown loyalty to Tedesco.

Maguire clearly had no time for sentiment and made the decision to turf Tedesco for Edwards and replace the Sydney Roosters fullback with Jake Trbojevic as captain.

Edwards was forced to withdraw from his Blues debut late last week with a quad injury and his misfortune appeared to be Tedesco’s gain when he ran onto the Accor Stadium turf.

Playing his 23rd straight Origin game, Tedesco looked set to roll back the years and produce one of his majestical Blues performances.

Early in the night the Roosters fullback was everywhere, scheming and poking his nose through the line at every opportunity.

He dived on a Jarome Luai grubberkick to get the Blues on the board and carried back with his trademark bouncing and spinning, clocking up 170m with the ball in hand.

But as NSW began to tire and Queensland exposed their one-man advantage, Tedesco was forced to make defensive decisions as the Maroons sliced through the Blues defence with ease.

Tedesco often pulled the wrong lever in defence and had a couple of handling errors.

But the mixed evening will only invite more questions over whether he can still play a role for NSW and he won’t be the only one under a cloud.

There will inevitably be similar questions about halfback Nicho Hynes who stumbled late in the game as he played his first match since injuring a calf a fortnight ago.

Hynes, too, was hot and cold but with Mitch Moses back to full fitness the Parramatta No.7 would be an understandable contender to step in.