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Jared Waerea-Hargreaves won't be with him on the field, but the retiring Rooster will still be providing his skipper James Tedesco inspiration as the side launch their season in Las Vegas.

The Roosters flew out of Sydney on Wednesday in preparation for their Round 1 match against the Broncos, with Tedesco sharing what a big impact the Kiwi enforcer has had on his career.

“It won’t be the same at the Roosters without Jared here,” Tedesco said.

“We’ve loved every moment playing with him on and off the field. Whenever I run out with him, I feel safe and confident.

“We’re missing him in this game in Vegas, but I know he’s had a really great pre-season and he is looking fit and I know he’s going to give everything he can for his last year.

“It’s hard to put into words (his impact on the team) ... I have got so much respect for him, he’s been massive for me as a leader.

"He has been here for 15 years, he’s been in the leadership group with me and he just backs me.

“To have that from a guy like Jared with how well respected he is, not just at the Roosters, but around every team in the game, it’s confidence building for me.

“You all see what a warrior he is on the field, but off the field, you won’t meet a nicer guy.

“You don’t see many front-rowers in the game like him who have done it for that many years, he’s going to hit 300 games this year, the way he plays the game is pretty rare.

“I’m sure others will come through, but he’s definitely a benchmark of a front rower with the way he plays the game and they way he has done it for so long, I think it’s pretty rare to find someone else like him.”

The Roosters are also set to be without exciting recruit Dom Young, who sustained a soft tissue injury to his neck after a crusher tackle, but in good news for him and the club, was able to travel and join the US tour and is set to be fit for Round 2 against the Sea Eagles.

“Disappointing, he’s been really exciting over pre-season, he showed on the weekend what he can do, he just wants his hands on the ball and can score tries and make something out of nothing with his speed,” Tedesco said.

“I have really been impressed with how he carries the ball too, he doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff and that’s what us at the Roosters are all about, taking those tough carries and getting us out of trouble and he does a really good job of that.

“I don’t think it’s as bad as we first thought which is good, I think he can still come over, but I think he’ll be right for hopefully Round 2.”

Dominic Young Try

Although the lead-up to the trip to Las Vegas has been full of excitement, the Roosters do have a Round 1 stat they would no doubt be keen to rectify, having only won their opening round match once – a big 46-4 win against the Sea Eagles in 2021 – since Tedesco joined the club in 2018.

“I want to get off to a strong start … I don’t want to keep talking about the past and what’s happened the last few years or since my time in the Roosters," Tedesco said. 

“Our goal from the start of the pre-season was to work as hard as we can, push yourself to be your best and hopefully that hard work will pay its dividends down the road.

Top ranked WFB: James Tedesco

“I feel like our preparation for the game and for the year has been really good and just excited to get out there and play some footy.”

The Roosters may take some time to adjust to their surroundings once they touch down in the US, they have already begun to adjust to the smaller field dimensions of their “home” ground Allegiant Stadium.

“I think the kicking is a massive part, the Broncos have a really strong kicking game with [Adam] Reynolds and Walters out of nine and Reece Walsh as well so I think with shorter dimensions, there’s going to be a lot more attacking kicks and there will be a lot more opportunities for 40/20s and longer kicks as well,” Tedesco said.

“It’ll be something for me [as fullback] to be really on my guard for and watch for that, but when you’re out there, it’s pretty hard to feel; it’s only four or five metres shorter each way, so you’ll get a feel for it.

“It can make a difference for sure, but it’s hard to plan for that, you just have to play with what you have got – but I feel there will be a lot more attaching kicks just to be able to move down the field a lot more with that four or five metres.

“It’ll be an entertaining game.”


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.