Talk of rival fullbacks stealing James Tedesco’s Kangaroos or Blues jumpers has peppered the champion fullback all year.
But when a reporter asked Tedesco on Friday if he was at danger of losing his Australian and NSW No.1 jerseys to Dylan Edwards over the coming years, he laughed and was taken aback.
“I dunno, mate,” Tedesco said a day out from the Kangaroos’ Pacific Championships opener.
“Whoever’s best for the job will get that, for sure. It’s not mine, it’s not someone’s; whoever’s best for that role will get that spot, for sure.”
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Edwards was again overlooked for representative selection when coach Mal Meninga named a 21-man Kangaroos squad on October 3, but the Panthers gun got a call-up after Josh Addo-Carr was withdrawn because of his involvement in the Koori Knockout brawl.
That addition intensified commentary around the prospect of Edwards taking over from Tedesco as fullback of the Kangaroos and Blues.
Three years in succession of phenomenal form for the Panthers, underscored by three NRL titles and a Clive Churchill Medal, have whipped up talk of Edwards unseating Tedesco, the Kangaroos and Blues captain.
Tom Trbojevic, Kalyn Ponga and Reece Walsh are among the other fullbacks who’ve threatened to dislodge the Roosters superstar in representative football.
Edwards will line up on a wing as he makes his Australian debut on Saturday.
Watch the Kangaroos take on Samoa and New Zealand in the 2023 Pacific Championships on Nine and 9Now.
Ahead of Australia’s Pacific Championships clash with Samoa in Townsville, Meninga gave Tedesco’s captaincy a rap.
“Teddy’s a great leader. The way that he carries himself in the green and gold jersey is very proud. He’s passionate about it which is fantastic, he’s a winner and he leads the way,” Meninga said.
“He loves the comradery of the national team … We’ve had a good week and he’s led that. We’re a pretty connected group today and we’ll be connected tomorrow and a lot of that work comes from Teddy.”
The inaugural Pacific Championships are split into two groups, with Australia, New Zealand and Samoa set to contest the Pacific Cup, and Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Cook Islands set to compete for the Pacific Bowl.
In the women’s Pacific Championships, Australia, New Zealand and Tonga will battle for the Pacific Cup, while Samoa, Fiji, PNG and the Cook Islands will be in a fight for the Pacific Bowl.