As James Tedesco prepares to play his 150th NRL match on Thursday night, he looks back to a time when he didn’t think he’d get the chance to play 50.
Tedesco was a young an exciting prospect when he became eligible for first grade in 2012, so much so that he was called up to make his NRL debut in the first game of the season for the Wests Tigers against the Cronulla Sharks at a packed Leichhardt Oval on a Sunday afternoon.
It was anything but the dream debut for Tedesco though, succumbing to an ACL injury shy of the full time siren and cutting his season to less than a full NRL match.
It’s safe to say that luck was well and truly against the young Tiger as he strived for consistency as a rugby league player, playing one game in his first season and just eight in his third.
If attitude has anything to do with performance though, then Tedesco's off-field attitude towards his recovery was second-to-none.
Tedesco looks back on the early years of his career with pride, having made it through the tough years stronger and to be in the position where he sits at the present.
A Proud Achievement | Tedesco Talks 150
"There was a time where I didn't think i'd play 50," Tedesco said to RoostersTV.
“Those challenges and injuries I had to overcome have made me into the player I am today.
“I’ve used them as lessons to do everything I can to get my body and mind right.
“After overcoming those hurdles and be where I am today is a pretty proud achievement.”
Tedesco sat down for a team meeting with members of the NRL squad early in the week, where Head Coach Trent Robinson gave a presentation about Tedesco’s 150 games.
Robinson interviewed Tedesco, asking questions about his career, his favourite moments and the mindset that put him in the position that he’s in today.
“It’s a pretty cool achievement and I’m pretty proud of myself.
“Robbo went through it with the boys, and it was nice to get that acknowledgement and speak to the boys about the 150."
Sharing a milestone with Mitchell Aubusson, who celebrates 300 NRL games with the Sydney Roosters, Tedesco is insistent on taking a back seat while the Club veteran receives his due credit.
“It’s huge, it’s the pinnacle of achievements to play 300 games.
“We’ll honour him before the game and talk about how special he is.
“Aubo’s a laid back guy and just does his job every single week.
“He’s just selfless, he just wants to help the team anyway that he can.”
Tedesco’s selfless attitude is just a small part of what makes him the man and teammate he is today.
Aubusson 300 | Highlights
Since arriving at the Club in 2018, he says that he’s grown as a person and as a leader during his three seasons thus far.
“I came to the Club as a 25 year old I was a bit taken back.
“It was a new Club, I just wanted to get along with everyone and play my best footy.
“Seeing the leaders we have at the Club, I’ve tried to take on that role and lead the boys as best as I can on and off the field.”
Tonight's 150th NRL match is a due reward for a player with a second-to-none work ethic, and there's plenty more to come from James Tedesco.
Tedesco 150 | Highlights
ACHIEVEMENTS SINCE 2018
- 100th NRL match (Round 10 v Warriors, 2018)
- Back-to-back NRL Premierships
- Back-to-back Jack Gibson Medals
- Back-to-back State Of Origin series victories
- Back-to-back RLPA Player Of The Year Awards
- Back-to-back Brad Fittler Medals
- 2019 Dally M Medalist