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James Tedesco leans towards Sydney Roosters with Aaron Woods poised to join Canterbury Bulldogs

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James Tedesco is leaning towards joining the Roosters over the Bulldogs as the Wests Tigers prepare to begin their rebuild with only one member of the 'big four' left at the club.

The contractual saga surrounding Wests Tigers' star quartet will finally be brought to a head after coach Ivan Cleary imposed a deadline of close of business Friday for Tedesco and Aaron Woods to re-sign.

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Mitchell Moses grabbed a try for the Wests Tigers against Parramatta at ANZ Stadium, only to see his future team-mates steal an improbable 26-22 victory after crossing three times in the space of ten minutes late in the match.

The Tigers have privately conceded they won't be retaining either of them, with Woods poised to join Canterbury and Tedesco to choose between four-year deals on offer from the Tigers, Roosters and Bulldogs. All of those deals are comparable financially, with each set to net Tedesco him a seven-figure-per-season payday.

Tedesco has been agonising over whether to take up the Bulldogs or Roosters offer, but is understood to be favouring the latter after recently meeting with coach Trent Robinson. The NSW fullback grew up as a Roosters supporter, idolising star player Brad Fittler. He even trialled for their Harold Matthews team as a teenager after fearing he wouldn't get a start for the local side, although he eventually secured a position for Wests.

Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe told Fairfax Media in March that the club was seeking to place a deadline on contract negotiations to bring the saga to an end. That finally happened on Tuesday when Tigers powerbrokers told the manager of the players, Isaac Moses, that they had until Friday to re-sign.

Cleary wasn't scheduled to address the media until the Tigers' captain's run, but fronted reporters on Thursday to reveal the club's ultimatum.

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"The constant speculation has led us as a club to put deadlines on the offers to James Tedesco and Aaron Woods. That's for Friday," Cleary said.

"It's in the interest of the players and all the stakeholders. The constant speculation is becoming a hindrance to performance.

"I think it's really good for the guys, they understand that. We'd love them to stay, at this stage we have no information in regards to decisions but they will obviously come.

"Whatever happens, we will respect those decisions, of course. We're really hopeful of them staying with us and working towards building a future here."

Mitchell Moses has already signed for Parramatta, leaving halfback Luke Brooks as the only member of the 'big four' to commit beyond the end of the year. Cleary confirmed he had no intention of letting any player go before the season is over.

The Tigers want to bring the situation to a head while there are still quality players available on the open market. They have already been linked to Warriors Ben Matulino and Shaun Johnson and Dragons pivot Gareth Widdop.

"Of course, that's the professional market we live in," Cleary said. "If that is the case, and I reiterate I hope it's not, I can certainly guarantee Wests Tigers supporters that we will be able to attract some extremely high calibre, credentialled [replacements].

"I'm sure it would be a blow [to lose all three], absolutely. All I can say is that we've done our very best. It's a professional environment, a decision the guys will make and we'll respect that decision."

Tedesco's signing for the tri-colours would be a huge coup. Roosters chairman Nick Politis is one who usually gets his man, but the pursuit of the star fullback has been more complicated than most.

Politis has been refusing to deal with Isaac Moses ever since Mitchell Moses reneged on a commitment to join the club. However, the feud was put aside, with club legend Anthony Minichiello initially acting as a circuit breaker for the parties.

Minichiello and Tedesco are close from their time together with the Italian national team and the the Tigers fullback now has the chance to become the long-term No.1 for the glamour club.

"I was a Roosters fan because our Camden jerseys were red, white and blue, exactly the same strip as the Roosters," Tedesco told Fairfax Media last year.

"I always went for them as a young kid and was a pretty passionate supporter. My favourite player was Brad Fittler, and I liked Craig Wing." The Bulldogs won't walk away empty handed. They are expected to snare Woods, while Kieran Foran is also expected to end up at the "Family Club".

Cleary had no issue with Woods being photographed with Canterbury players, just days before his signing deadline and the ANZ Stadium clash between the clubs. One of the Bulldogs players at that meeting, Adam Elliott said: "Woodsy is a leader and a rep player and a big part of their team. The boys know he will put his best foot forward for the team. Beyond that, you can't really help what the (Tigers) fans say. I could imagine a few of them would be umming and ahhing. It wasn't a recruitment meeting. But even if it was, you see other people sign with other clubs."

With Adam Pengilly

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