James Tedesco act towards Dylan Edwards comes to light after NSW State of Origin axing

Edwards says Tedesco reached out to congratulate him on his Blues selection.

Dylan Edwards has revealed that in the moments after he was confirmed as the NSW fullback for Game I, the man whose place he took, James Tedesco, was among the first people to reach out to congratulate him. Blues coach Michael Maguire faced an impossible decision on whether to pick Tedesco or Edwards in his first Origin team on Monday and the axing of the Kangaroos fullback has been seen as a giant leap of faith by Maguire.

Heading into Game I, Maguire's Blues will have a distinctly different look to that of last year, with 11 changes made from Game III. On June 5, six players are set to make their Blues debuts with Edwards, Joseph Suaalii, Zac Lomax, Cameron McInnes, Haumole Olakau’atu and Spencer Leniu all set to pull on the Blues jersey for the first time.

Pictured left Dylan Edwards and right James Tedesco
Dylan Edwards revealed James Tedesco was one of the first people to congratulate him on his Blues selection. Image: Getty

And while the NRL world had been calling for Edwards to get his opportunity, the snubbing of Tedesco still came as somewhat of a shock. While Maguire offered little reason for his reason to omit Tedesco from his first team as Blues coach, he said it had more to do with rewarding Edwards' form and work ethic and vital role in Penrith's three straight premierships than it did with Tedesco.

The decision means the Roosters fullback has become the first Kangaroos captain in history to be dropped from an Origin side and it ends the Tri Colours star's run of 22 straight matches for the Blues. Many men would have been bitter about being axed considering the impact they have had over several years in the Origin arena but not Tedesco.

Maguire said the Roosters fullback took the decision with grace and understanding. But not only that, the Kangaroos captain in the immediate aftermath of Edwards being revealed as Blues fullback, reached out to the Panthers No.,1 to congratulate him.

"He sent me a message, in fact, he was one of the first blokes to send me one," Edwards said. "He just said, 'Congratulations, enjoy the week' and that Origin footy is the best. That's all class."

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 16: NSW Blues head coach Michael Maguire looks on during the 2024 State of Origin Series Launch at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 16, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)
Michael Maguire made the bold decision to drop Blues captain James Tedesco for Dylan Edwards for Game I.

The decision to go with Edwards was likely impacted by Tedesco's underwhelming year in 2023 (both for the Roosters and NSW). However, in 2024 he has returned to his best and can consider himself very unlucky to miss out. The Roosters skipper could also not have done much more in his final Origin audition before the squad was named, starring in the Tri Colours' 44-16 demolition of the Raiders in Canberra.

But on the flip side, Edwards is also fully deserving of his spot in the side and has been arguably the most consistent fullback in the NRL for several seasons. It could also be argued that the Panthers wouldn't have won three straight premierships if not for their No.1. In 2022, Edwards won the Clive Churchill Medal as the best player in that year's grand final and also played a key role in their 14-12 win over the Rabbitohs in 2021.

The Panthers No.1 was also outstanding in his final Origin audition as Penrith put the blowtorch to the table-topping Sharks in a 42-0 walloping. Maguire watched on from the stands as Edwards produced a dominant performance that included 250 run metres to go with one try, seven tackle busts, two line breaks and seven goals from eight attempts.

But Maguire said it was one particular play in the Panthers' win over the Sharks that locked in his decision to go with Edwards for Game I. With Penrith already leading 28-0, the Panthers fullback sprinted from one side of the field to the other to deny Daniel Atkinson a 40-20.

After picking up the ball, Edwards stepped a defender and threatened to cut the defence wide open before he was brought to ground. He then followed it up with another 20-metre run later in the set to help Penrith earn a line drop-out.


"That solidified my decision that this is where we're going," Maguire said. "He's a player who's been playing at the highest level, he's played in four grand finals, we all know his stats and he's won three.

"He's one of the most consistent players I've seen for a long, long time. I just felt from my gut it was the right time to give Dylan the opportunity to play. They're always tough (decisions). I have huge respect for all the players. But my job is about making decisions for what I believe is going to take the team to success."

with AAP