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James Tedesco of the Tigers during the Wests Tigers v North Queensland Cowboys trial game at Campbelltown Stadium. pic Mark Evans
Christian Nicolussi
And North Queensland coach Paul Green might be tempted to play 18-year-old sensation Kalyn Ponga from round one after an ankle injury ended the night of winger Antonio Winterstein.In what was a miserable day for the Tigers on the back of the Tim Simona betting bombshell, $3 million man Tedesco made sure he gave the tiny Tigers faithful at Campbelltown Sports Stadium reason to believe.While the home side lost 18-16 to the Cowboys, the sight of Tedesco sidestepping and busting the defensive line was a real treat.WINNER: Idris to benefit from Simona’s alleged gambleWESTS TIGERS: Simona stood down over alleged gambling
James Tedesco was the best on ground for the Tigers against the North Queensland Cowboys. Picture: Mark Evans
James Tedesco was the best on ground for the Tigers against the North Queensland Cowboys. Picture: Mark Evans
Source:News Corp Australia
He had only resumed full training after Christmas following nose and jaw surgery — as well as a clean-out of his knee — and is sure to pose headaches for South Sydney in their NRL opener in 13 days.Tigers rookie winger Moses Suli also impressed and did his hopes of a starting left wing spot no harm, while big Jamal Idris lasted an hour and looked fitter again.Gun No. 1 Tedesco was given a hero’s reception as he walked off the field. He left skipper Aaron Woods hanging for a high five. Tedesco looked slightly stockier in physique.
“I could have kept going tonight, but I was happy to play 55 to 60 minutes, that was the plan,’’ Tedesco said.“I was getting our defensive line set well, and that’s improved out of sight from last year. We’ve been working hard on getting our defensive line set, and that’s helped the team.“I was also happy to get a few good carries.’’
Aaron Woods hits the ball up for the Tigers. Picture: Mark Evans
Aaron Woods hits the ball up for the Tigers. Picture: Mark Evans
Source:News Corp Australia
Tedesco made easy metres up the middle on several occasions during the first half against a full-strength Cowboys team.There were a few slaps to the jaw he broke at the same ground late last season.For the Tigers, winger David Nofoaluma bagged a double, Matt McIlwrick was safe out of dummy-half, while Jack Littlejohn continued to make the most of his chances.Elijah Taylor showed his dedication by returning to the field well after the game to punch out a few extra laps.A late Kane Linnett try and sideline conversion by Johnathan Thurston sealed the Cowboys win. Thurston played up to a small section of the small crowd by taking a bow.
Sauaso Sue of the Tigers runs through an attempted tackle by Johnathan Thurston.
Sauaso Sue of the Tigers runs through an attempted tackle by Johnathan Thurston.
Source:Getty Images
But it was hardly a vintage performance by the Cowboys, especially against the Tigers who missed starting young halves Mitchell Moses (ankle) and Luke Brooks (hamstring).Brooks is rated ‘’90 per cent’’ but no certainty for the round-one clash against Souths.Cowboys coach Paul Green was happy with the result but disappointed in the team’s overall performance in their final pre-season trial.“Probably not as happy as I would’ve liked to have been,” he said after the game.“There were some pleasing things to take out of the game, a couple of things we wanted to try and get out of it. But we were a bit off on some of our basic stuff too.” Green confirmed Winterstein had hurt his ankle but played down the seriousness of the injury.
Antonio Winterstein of the Cowboys is checked by medical staff before leaving the field.
Antonio Winterstein of the Cowboys is checked by medical staff before leaving the field.
Source:Getty Images
“It doesn’t seem to be too bad but we’ll get it checked out. Don’t want to take any unnecessary risks. See what the scans say but, at this stage, it doesn’t look too bad,” he said.Although his team lost, Tigers coach Jason Taylor said the Tigers had improved following last week’s trial win over St George-Illawarra, particularly in defence.“There was a bit of fatigue in that game for us, but tonight was really good,” he said.“(The Cowboys would) be happy that was a trial game because they let the pressure off us a few times with some simple errors.“But really happy with the way we defended when they attacked our line. I think we forced a few of those errors as well.”Originally published as Tedesco shines but Tigers go down