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All being well, James Tedesco will be wearing the No.1 jersey on the end-of-season Kangaroos Tour to the UK. But any unexpected slip-ups and there's a peloton of fullbacks nipping at his heels.

And he knows it.

"I can feel them really close," Tedesco told

There's the usual suspects like Manly's Tom Trbojevic, Parramatta's Clint Gutherson, Newcastle's Kalyn Ponga. And now we can throw in Latrell Mitchell (South Sydney) and Valentine Holmes (North Queensland).

Certainly Tedesco is Australia coach Mal Meninga's first choice. He is the current Dally M winner and the RLPA Players' Champion after helping the NSW Blues and Sydney Roosters win back-to-back titles.

But even fullbacks need understudies – especially on a lengthy, multi-match tour.

"There's a few – heaps actually," Tedesco said at the Fox League season launch at the SCG.

"There are definitely some high-quality fullbacks around. It's a challenge for me to keep my place in rep teams.

"It makes me want to stay at the top of my game and play my best footy.

"I don't want to think about it too much, but I know they're all there. If I can play some good footy again then those chances will come for me."

All of James Tedesco's tries from 2019

This Saturday night in Gosford the Roosters are set to play a trial against the Knights, now coached by former Tricolours assistant Adam O'Brien.

But since the bulk of the premiership-winning team stepped off a long-haul flight from the UK just four days earlier, don't expect many of them to play.

"The majority of the team that was in England won't be playing. I'm not playing as it's just too hard to back up with the travel involved," Tedesco said.

"We'll get some solid training done the next two weeks and we'll be ready.

"We're pretty happy with the hit-out against St Helens."

The Roosters securing their fifth World Club Challenge trophy with a 20-12 win last weekend was proof enough for Tedesco of their form for the 2020 season.

"It felt like 2019. We were back again with what worked, even though we've lost a few players," he said.

"Our power game and our forwards just rolling through the middle. Our defence on the goal-line seemed huge again.

"It didn't feel like we lost much in the off-season. That was really pleasing."

So was the ease at which Kyle Flanagan skipped into the No.7 role.

But someone else helping Tedesco rekindle the flame for another long NRL season is Jake Friend.

NRL Fantasy player in focus - James Tedesco

He only played six games last year because of two serious arm injuries. And Tedesco has long-wished to get back on the field regularly with the hard-working No.9.

"I felt like he really missed out on a lot and I know I missed playing with him," he said.

"But now with Sammy [Verrills'] rise we have two great hookers."

The Roosters may well need that as Friend is in line to play Origin this year, so may need to have his game time managed – whether he likes it or not – so he's not burnt out by finals time. He made 49 tackles in the World Club Challenge.

"I'm not sure how our bench will work but having them both as options for No.9 is a good headache to have," Tedesco said.

Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.