The Daily Telegraph‘s Phil ‘Buzz’ Rothfield is described by his editors as “League’s most feared critic”, but he is way off the mark with his comment about Wests Tigers young gun James Tedesco becoming a Rooster.
Rothfield went public with his top 50 NRL players in his regular column ‘The Buzz’ on March 4 this year, raising a few eyebrows when he did not have Johnathan Thurston in his top two and left Daly Cherry-Evans out of his top five.
Buzz is entitled to his opinion, but he has got this one wrong in this week’s Sunday Telegraph: “We mentioned last week how the Bulldogs salary cap miracle workers were chasing Wests Tigers star fullback James Tedesco. The Roosters have beaten them to the punch and will announce his signing in the very near future.”
The Roosters have not even considered having a crack at the brilliant Tedesco. When they have a star like Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in the wings waiting to take over from club legend Anthony Minichiello, why would they?
Tedesco is only 21, and his dazzling pace off the mark and ability to sniff out a try is reminiscent of Billy Slater. He still has some work to do on his defence and ball-playing skills, but the immense progress he has made this year means his next contract should earn him $500k-plus per season.
The Tigers won the battle with the Dragons to sign ‘Teddy’ in 2011, and let’s hope they can keep him. His combination with young Luke Brooks could end up being as revered as Slater and Cronk’s in Melbourne.
If you are a Rooster fan you will be wondering when Tuivasa-Sheck, 20, is going to start at fullback. Fans have seen him in stints this season, with Minichiello being shunted to the wing. It was this move that actually won the game for the Roosters against the Broncos on Friday night.
Mini turns 34 in May and has had shockers in Rounds 1 and 3, while the young and exciting Tuivasa-Sheck continues to impress.
The Roosters got out of jail against the unlucky Broncos, but how much longer can they continue gambling on the old against the new?
Roosters coach Trent Robinson is an incredibly deep thinker and he will not be swayed by media comments. He won last year’s premiership in his rookie year because of his gut feel for his players and the game.
He based his entire game plan on defence and while Mini has not been strong in that area this season, he clearly believes that Tuivasa-Sheck has some more learning to do from his on-field mentor.
What we do know is that when Robinson does finally release the shackles on Tuivasa-Sheck and he is handed the famous Roosters No. 1 jersey, his match-up with James Tedesco will be something to see.