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Sheens keeps the faith as Tedesco's debut ends in tears


Greg Prichard

Rugby League round 1 Wests Tigers v Cronulla Sharks  at Leichhardt Oval Click for more photos

Bend it like Benji

Rugby League round 1: Wests Tigers v Cronulla Sharks at Leichhardt Oval. Pictures by Steve Christo on Sunday, March 4th, 2012. Photo: Steve Christo

THERE will be a mountain of good wishes for rookie Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco after his heartbreaking injury yesterday but, to reconcile himself with what has happened, he is best advised to listen to the words of his coach, Tim Sheens.

Showing his immense experience as a 61-year-old four-time premiership winner, Sheens was both concerned and realistic when asked to reflect on Tedesco having been ruled out for the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

''It's disappointing for him, a 19-year-old in his very first game,'' Sheens said. ''I think he had shown why we earmarked him as our first-grade fullback. But [Tigers hooker] Robbie Farah did the same thing at the same age, and came back stronger, and [Tigers halfback] Tim Moltzen has done it and come back stronger. All you can do as a footballer is get on with it. You're going to visit the doctor at some stage of your career, or you're not really playing first grade. It comes down to what he [Tedesco] does about it, and I'm pretty sure with the support we give him he will come through it.''

Season over … rookie James Tedesco writhes in pain.

Season over … rookie James Tedesco writhes in pain. Photo: Steve Christo

It wasn't the result of a collision, or his leg getting twisted under a defender, that Tedesco was hurt. As so often seems to happen with serious knee injuries, there was no one near him when he ran the ball in the 30th minute and his knee collapsed under him. Tedesco went down clutching at it and was clearly in agony. It was immediately clear he was in big trouble.

Tigers five-eighth Benji Marshall said Tedesco had been overwhelmed by emotion in the dressing room as he tried to come to terms with the extent of the damage. ''Just seeing his reaction in the sheds, he was crying in there and it brought a tear to a few of the boys' eyes as well, because we see him as such a great talent and he's fitted into the squad well and he's a really good kid,'' Marshall said.

Sheens indicated that rather than switch Moltzen to fullback and bring in another halfback, he was likely to leave Tom Humble at the back for Friday's game against Manly at Gosford. Humble came off the bench to replace Tedesco yesterday. ''It's only a five-day turnaround, so you want to change as little as possible,'' Sheens said. ''Humble did well, and I really don't want to break up the six and seven.''

3 comments so far

  • I''m absolutely gutted for this kid, what a promising talent. No one likes to see these sorts of injuries, but i guess if we were to lose a player for the season, fullback would be one position which we could quite easily cover for.
    I was very impressed with Humble, but we have so many options such as Ryan,Mitch Brown,Sean Meany or even Lote.
    Lets hope for a speedy recovery and comeback even stronger in 2013.

    Date and time
    March 05, 2012, 11:10AM
    • Mitch Brown has just been signed by the dogs, so there goes that option!!

      Date and time
      March 05, 2012, 12:27PM
  • I am not a Tigers supporter, but I was dismayed to see this very talented kid go down in such a heartbreaking manner for him and his family. No matter who you support, no one likes to see that happen to anyone, particularly on the biggest day of the kid's career All the best to you James, and stay positive.

    Bronco Billy
    Date and time
    March 05, 2012, 3:16PM

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