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James Tedesco to stay at Wests Tigers despite signing with Canberra Raiders

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Wests Tigers chief executive Grant Mayer says the club did not prompt James Tedesco to renege on his deal with Canberra after the fullback performed a sensational backflip to walk away from his lucrative Raiders contract on Wednesday.

Canberra offered Tedesco about $2 million over three years, while the Tigers’ offer was about the same amount over four years. Tedesco approached the Tigers on Wednesday evening and advised Mayer his preference was to stay.

Change of heart: Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco.

Change of heart: Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco. Photo: Getty Images

‘‘I firstly need to apologise to the Canberra Raiders for my change of heart,’’ Tedesco said. ‘‘They have been great throughout the whole process.

‘‘That said, I never felt totally comfortable with my decision and after thinking it through, I realised it would be too hard to leave my best mates.

‘‘I understand that the Raiders and their fans will be disappointed and I apologise to all of them for making this decision and I only hope they will understand."

Mayer, who has retained all eight local juniors that have been off contract during his tenure as chief executive, said there was no revised offer and that Tedesco agreed to stay on the deal previously tabled.

‘‘We were never going to match what Canberra had on the table, ever,’’ Mayer said. ‘‘I have no doubt that this is nothing to do with money.

"There will be suggestions of clandestine meetings, I have no doubt, but I can guarantee you that’s not the case. We did not move on the deal, we stuck solid to our original discussions.

‘‘If this was about money alone, he wouldn’t have done this. This is more than dollars ... he’s made a decision from the heart and for that we are grateful.

"At the end of the day, at 21 years of age, he didn’t want to leave this club and his mates. The pull of that has been so strong for him.’’

Tigers skipper Robbie Farah told NRL 360 on Wednesday night he had spoken with Tedesco about the move.

‘‘I spoke to the kid,’’ Farah said. ‘‘I noticed being back at training he had been down. I had a chat to him yesterday. He confided in me. I told him to go away and think about things.

"As a mate and club captain I gave him my opinion and some advice. I told him that if he was serious about changing his mind we would support him and that's a big decision and something he had to live by. At the end of the day he has followed his heart.’’

Raiders chief executive Don Furner was furious at the development.

‘‘We are bitterly disappointed at the way it was handled ... that’s our only quote,’’ he said.

It is a devastating blow for Canberra who over the past week have missed out on Penrith winger Josh Mansour, Canterbury hooker Michael Ennis and Melbourne forward Kevin Proctor.

Canberra were desperate to recruit a quality fullback after Anthony Milford confirmed he would honour his two-year contract with the Broncos.

Tedesco said at the time of his signing with the Raiders it was tough telling Tigers teammates he had agreed to be part of Ricky Stuart’s rebuilding drive from 2015.

Canberra have turned their attention to Roosters wunderkind Tautau Moga, the prodigiously talented Roosters three-quarter who has been compared with Sonny Bill Williams and Israel Folau.

He is off contract at the end of the season and the Roosters are keen to retain his services, however, he might need to take a big pay cut to remain at Bondi Junction after suffering two season-ending knee injuries.

The 20-year-old recently returned for feeder team Newtown but the setbacks have limited him to 14 NRL appearances since storming onto the scene in 2012.

with David Polkinghorne and Chris Wilson

55 comments so far

  • Best news to come out of the club, good on him for staying loyal. Must have been a few people in his ear!

    Commenter
    Tigersyes
    Date and time
    June 04, 2014, 7:38PM
    • not often do you hear of a player turning down a good paycheck for his mates and his club. I only hope tigers find some dividends and pay James the money he deserves.

      Commenter
      vetty
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      June 04, 2014, 7:44PM
      • They are: $2m over 4 years. How many 21 year olds earn that type of money?
        In this instance (like with Benji Marshall) the Tigers have arrived at a value of a player and stuck to it. While players deserve everything they get this tabloid race to the highest figure is not good for the game or the players (example Andrew Fifita).

        Commenter
        Bernie
        Date and time
        June 05, 2014, 8:01AM
      • Hopefully he only gets paid when he actually plays. That should reduce the size of his salary by 75%.

        Commenter
        Jace
        Date and time
        June 05, 2014, 10:56AM
    • So Furner is furious at young James decision is he? What an absolute crock! I seem to recall Canberra agitating to have one Josh Papalli walk away from a lucrative contract with the Eels and stay with the Raiders not that long ago. Somewhat ironically, The Great Coach (Stuart) was then coaching the Eels and was none too happy about Mr Papalli's change of heart or Canberra's actions however legitimate. What's that old saying-he who lives by the sword.....

      Commenter
      curaeus
      Date and time
      June 04, 2014, 7:57PM
      • Not sure what furner is furious about..... Papali anyone? Did not they talk him going to the eels after he signed with them.

        Commenter
        Gb
        Date and time
        June 04, 2014, 8:18PM
        • nah......You are wrong that was completely different. Papali use the eels as leverage to bump up the offer with Canberra. Papalli only signed with Eels as a safety net- in case Canberra didn't match. Papalli never had any genuine interest in leaving Canberra.

          Commenter
          David
          Date and time
          June 04, 2014, 10:42PM
      • Good decision of the heart. Teddy, you will be part of a great tiger spine, coached by a great fullback. Go Wests, Young James.

        Commenter
        computer
        Date and time
        June 04, 2014, 8:20PM
        • I may be wrong, but it always struck me that James Tedesco was put under enormous pressure by his manager to go for the money and leave the Tigers. While that may have been good for others, I dont think it would have been good for him. While I have no particular interest in who he plays for, bravo to whoever got him to think more about his happiness and state of mind, rather than just money. If he came to this conclusion himself, then double bravo to him. You only become a great player if you are happy in yourself. NSW needs a great fullback. I hope this decision makes him one. Well done James.

          Commenter
          E White
          Location
          Bondi
          Date and time
          June 04, 2014, 8:23PM
          • Wakey wakey nsw do have a great fullback - he's called Jarrad Hayne

            Commenter
            Parra4life
            Date and time
            June 05, 2014, 11:13AM

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