James Tedesco charged over Ryan Papenhuyzen incident as NRL fans rip 'awful' scenes

The Sydney Roosters captain has learned his fate over the ugly act that left fans fuming.

James Tedesco has been charged by the NRL but escaped with a fine for tripping Ryan Papenhuyzen in the Roosters' loss to Melbourne on Thursday night. Fans were left questioning why Tedesco was allowed to stay on the field and wasn't sin-binned after appearing to blatantly trip Papenhuyzen in the second half.

Tedesco was back in the No.1 jersey for the Roosters after missing last week's win over Newcastle due to concussion, which saw Joey Manu take one for the team and move back to the centres. And he had 22 runs for 176 metres and broke six tackles on Thursday night, he failed to fire in attack and produced a number of poor moments that let the Roosters down.

James Tedesco, pictured here tripping Ryan Papenhuyzen.
James Tedesco hung his leg out and tripped Ryan Papenhuyzen. Image: Channel 9/Getty

Some of his decisions during a crucial 10-minute period in the second half when Cameron Munster was in the sin-bin also drew the ire of fans. At one stage he kicked on the second tackle when the Roosters were in great field position, gifting possession back to the Storm. And he also coughed up the ball with a costly knock-on with another run across field that left his outside men with little space to move.

There was a highly contentious moment when Munster came back onto the field, with many questioning why Tedesco wasn't sin-binned for tripping his opposite number Papenhuyzen. Tedesco was wrong-footed while chasing a kick, and although he stuck his hand out at Papenhuyzen first, he also threw his leg out in an attempt to stop the Storm fullback.

James Tedesco and Ryan Papenhuyzen.
James Tedesco has escaped with a fine for tripping Ryan Papenhuyzen. Image: Channel 9

On Friday morning, the match review committee charged Tedesco with grade-one dangerous contact (tripping) and offered the 31-year-old a $750 fine with an early guilty plea. It would have been $1000 if not for Tedesco's clean judiciary record.

Papenhuyzen immediately blew up at Tedesco's actions, and the Roosters captain was penalised and placed on report. But many felt there should have been stronger action taken, and Andrew Johns pointed out in commentary for Channel 9 that a trip used to be an automatic send-off not so long ago.

NRL fans want Joey Manu to replace James Tedesco permanently

The penalty allowed the Storm to march down field and score the match-winning try, with Xavier Coates crossing the line to break a 12-12 deadlock and send the Storm to an 18-12 win. The costly penalty was just one aspect of a horror night for Tedesco, which left many fans wondering whether the Roosters can afford to keep Manu in the centres rather than putting him to his preferred position of fullback.

Manu was an absolute beast against the Knights last week while filling in at fullback for Tedesco. He had 30 carries for an astonishing 347 metres (including 136 post-contact metres), as well as 11 tackle breaks and a try assist.

James Tedesco, pictured here during the Roosters' loss to Melbourne Storm.
James Tedesco (R) looks on during the Roosters' loss to Melbourne Storm.

But he was much more stunted against the Storm with 15 runs for 103 metres. Roosters coach Trent Robinson did appear to give Manu licence to roam the field more rather than staying out wide, but it didn't spark the Roosters' attack like it seems to do when Manu is wearing the No.1 jersey.


Fans were quick to point out how much better the Roosters' attack looks with Manu at the back, with many left fuming that the New Zealand international is leaving to play Japanese rugby next season. The Roosters' decision to stick with Tedesco at fullback has also seen young sensation Joseph Suaalii sign with the NSW Waratahs for 2025, meaning they've lost two of their brightest young talents.

Tedesco did start the season in scintillating form and appeared intent on keeping the No.1 jersey for the Roosters and NSW Blues. But surely the time has come for Robinson to switch Manu to the back and move Tedesco to centre or five-eighth. It also appears as though the Blues will go in a different direction, with the likes of Dylan Edwards, Tom Trbojevic and Ryan Papenhuyzen banging down the door to take the NSW fullback jersey.