As James Tedesco prepares to captain the New South Wales Blues for tonight's must win match at ANZ Stadium, he looks to the leadership group at the Sydney Roosters to gain added inspiration.
Though Tedesco has not yet captained a side at any level, he received his first taste of a leadership role when he was named the New South Wales vice captain in the Blues 2019 series.
With Boyd Cordner ruling himself out for the remainder of the State Of Origin series, Tedesco is set to take lessons from his Club, state and country captain after grabbing hold of the reigns for the remaining two matches.
“I was the vice captain last year, and if you look at our Roosters club there’s four or five captains that are big leaders in our team," Tedesco said of his leadership experience.
“I’ve learned a lot off those guys, Boyd’s captained me at Club level, New South Wales and Australia.
“I’ve learned off one of the best captains and I’ll take a few things off him.
“He’s the best guy to have in your team, and I want to be that guy on Wednesday night.”
Tedesco ready to lead Blues
Tedesco was modest when asked about the lifelong dream of captaining his state, though a quiet sense of pride was easy to see.
On Wednesday night he becomes the fifth Roosters player to captain an Origin side, joining an elite list of players who have captained their respective states before him.
It’s time for all of us to step up, take accountability and be leadersJames Tedesco
Both Arthur Beetson and Adrian Lam captained the Queensland Maroons throughout their careers, while Brad Fittler was a long serving and legendary member of the Blues line-up as captain.
Tedesco is far from unaware of the elite list he's joining as the third Roosters Blues captain and the 20th overall.
“It’s a huge honour.
“To captain this great state and great team to a must win game in Sydney, it doesn’t get much better than that.”
Tedesco has spent the past year working on his leadership skills, in particular with the young crop of players currently making their way through the ranks at the Roosters.
After playing his 150th NRL match in 2020, he discussed the prospect of being a leader at the Club, something that's been developing steadily since his arrival to the Roosters in 2018.
“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried to improve in that leadership role.
“Especially with the younger guys coming through at the Roosters, I’ve always tried to give some words of advice and coach here and there whenever I can help them.
Roosters legend and Blues coach Brad Fittler was quick to sing the praises of Tedesco, who has served as fullback for all seven State Of Origin matches he's coached.
Fittler had a discussion with the Blues coaching staff when Cordner announced that he would no longer be taking part in the series, and all parties agreed that Tedesco was the right man for the job.
"He's coming off a great couple of years playing, and he just has this quiet confidence about him," Fittler said of Tedesco.
"Nothing seems to faze him.
"It didn't surprise me because I was thinking about Teddy as well. There were some other names in and around there as well. It was overwhelming, that sort of surprised me.
"And then watching, he just has this nature where he doesn't say stuff until it needs it."
The New South Wales Blues captaincy is a reward for hard work, leadership and determination, and there aren't many that work harder on or off the field than James Tedesco.