Canberra players vying for Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco’s head will have to catch him first, captain Robbie Farah warned.
On Saturday night at Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Tedesco will line up against Canberra for the first time since reneging on a lucrative deal with the club.
The 21-year-old signed with Canberra at the end of last month for a reported $2 million over three years, only to renege on the deal one week later and stick with the Tigers.
Farah said any Raiders players looking to settle the score with Tedesco may find it difficult to do so.
‘‘I can’t see him getting any special treatment because they’ll have to get their hands on him first – he’s pretty elusive,’’ Farah said.
‘‘He has been fine, it’s business as usual and he’s looking forward to the game as we all are.
‘‘This is his home crowd, he’s a Camden boy and loves playing here, so he’ll have the support of the crowd.’’
Coach Mick Potter said the youngster would not be fazed by the occasion though he admitted there may not be as much love from the crowd when the Tigers play the Raiders in the nation’s capital in round 25.
‘‘Everyone is behind him here but I would imagine it might be a little different when he goes to Canberra,’’ Potter said.
‘‘If he just keeps his head down and does his best, there won’t be too much distraction for him.’’
Potter also hoped Farah and Aaron Woods’ return from State of Origin duty would provide the forward pack – outmuscled in their last game against South Sydney Rabbitohs – with some much needed direction.
‘‘The guys that were there before certainly did their best but there’s nothing like having Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods in your team,’’ he said.
‘‘Our team as a whole is a little bit down and we need to lift that back up.’’
Farah admitted his form at club level had not been up to scratch following recent Origin series losses.
But he hoped there would be no lull this year.
‘‘The last few years have been pretty difficult when you’ve been through a tough Origin series – both physically and mentally – and you are coming off the back of a loss.
‘‘You have to get yourself back up again and lead your club and I found that pretty difficult especially last year.
‘‘I found that affected my form and this year something I was really focused on was coming back here and maintaining my form for my club regardless of whether we won or lost Origin.
‘‘But it definitely helps that we won.’’