James Tedesco furore shut down after NRL fans question rules around State of Origin recall

The Blues had to get a special exemption to bring the fullback in from outside the 20-man squad.

The rules around James Tedesco's recall to the NSW State of Origin team have been explained, after some in the NRL world questioned why he was able to come in considering he wasn't in the 20-man squad. Tedesco won a stunning recall to the Blues team on Sunday after Dylan Edwards was ruled out with a quad injury suffered at training.

Tedesco was initially dumped as fullback and captain when coach Michael Maguire picked his team for Game I last weekend. Maguire went with the red-hot Edwards instead, and Tedesco was left out of the squad altogether.

But with the Blues not willing to risk an underdone Edwards in the opening game on Wednesday night, Tedesco was parachuted straight back in. NSW had to get a special exemption from the Australian Rugby League Commission to bring Tedesco back in because he wasn't part of their 20-man squad.

James Tedesco in NSW State of Origin camp.
James Tedesco has been rushed back into the NSW State of Origin team after Dylan Edwards was ruled out. Image: Getty

Matt Burton, Luke Keary and Mitch Barnett are the reserve players in the squad, but the ARL granted the Blues permission to bring Tedesco back. That detail caused some controversy, with many questioning whether it was within the rules on social media.

Queensland-based journalist Ben Dobbin also said it didn't sit well with him. “I don’t like this because - here’s my issue with it - both sides named 20 man squads," Dobbin said on Triple M radio. "Matt Burton couldn’t play for Canterbury on Thursday night.

“You had Luke Keary who’s been training there and it was all set. Everything was right until you bought someone in outside the 20 – I don’t like this. Stephen Crichton is a fullback, he’s played fullback and he can go there.”

But as we've seen a number of times in the NRL in recent years, it is well within the rules. Under the ARL rules, teams can apply to bring a player in from outside the squad in the case of an injury suffered after the squad has been named. Because Edwards was injured during NSW camp and it wasn't anything pre-existing, the Blues were well within their rights to recall Tedesco.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph on Sunday, Maguire revealed that Edwards suffered the injury while doing extra work after training on Saturday. “I’m gutted for Dyl," he said. “Seeing his face, it is shattering when you see one of your players go through that.

“Dyl was doing really well training-wise, he was outstanding. Teddy (Tedesco) will do the same, we all know he’s one hell of a replacement.

“We’d finished training and he did it during his extras at the end. He felt it in his quad and felt nothing of it and then the doctor had a good chat with him and we got a scan there this morning and it showed there was a one to two week strain there."

Dylan Edwards in NSW State of Origin camp.
Dylan Edwards injured his quad during NSW State of Origin camp.
James Tedesco in State of Origin camp with the NSW Blues.
James Tedesco in State of Origin camp in 2022.


Discussing the situation on the Sunday Footy Show, former NSW coach Brad Fittler said Tedesco wouldn't hold any ill-will towards Maguire after his initial axing. "Teddy's the sort of bloke who will just see this as the greatest opportunity to prove himself," Fittler said.

"He had a quiet year a couple of years ago and ever since then he's just gone through a bit of a change, changed his game. I think a lot of that attacking stuff, he's gotten better at that. That's why I was surprised he didn't get picked in the first place, but he'll see this as a massive challenge to be able to prove not only to the coach, but to everyone, that he's the number one man."

Nevertheless, Fittler said he suspects Tedesco may still have been hurting when Maguire called to ask whether he could be on stand-by for the game. "I don't know how warm it's going to be, if you ever got dropped, you're not feeling good about it," Fittler added.

"(The phone call) would've been the least amount of words: 'You've got an opportunity to do a job here'. A lot couldn't walk into that scenario but I think he can."

with AAP