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James Tedesco set to play Origin I as scans rule Dylan Edwards out

Jasper Bruce
AAP
The injured halfback was a surprise onlooker in camp.

James Tedesco is set to play fullback for NSW in the State of Origin series opener only days after being ousted by Dylan Edwards, who has since injured his left quadriceps.

AAP has been told Edwards will remain with the Blues but that former Blues captain Tedesco will join the squad in Sydney instead of playing for the Sydney Roosters against North Queensland on Sunday.

Penrith fullback Edwards pulled up sore following a training session at NSW’s Blue Mountains camp on Saturday, leading the Blues to contact the Roosters and ask whether Tedesco could be on stand-by for Origin I.

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Scans on Sunday morning revealed a quadriceps strain that has convinced the Blues it would be too risky for Edwards to make his Origin debut in the series opener at Accor Stadium on Wednesday.

The New South Wales Rugby League is currently seeking an exemption from the Australian Rugby League Commission to bring Tedesco in from outside their initial 20-man squad.

Pending that exemption being granted, Tedesco will make a fairytale return to the Blues only days on from Michael Maguire’s initial decision to axe him following 22 consecutive games as the state’s fullback.

“The NSWRL would like to acknowledge the Sydney Roosters for the cooperation and understanding they have provided throughout the process,” the NSWRL said in a statement.

New skipper Jake Trbojevic looks set to retain the Blues captaincy despite Tedesco’s return.

The Roosters switched Joey Manu to fullback on their team sheet for the clash against the Cowboys at Allianz Stadium, with centre Michael Jennings coming into the centres after being named 18th man the day before kick-off.

The injury is a major blow to Edwards, who had finally been set for a chance in the Origin arena after years as one of the NRL’s elite fullbacks.

Prior to Maguire’s appointment as coach for the 2024 series, Tedesco had been a walk-up starter to captain and play fullback for NSW, even as Edwards helped guide Penrith to three consecutive premierships.

Maguire’s call to cut Tedesco, in strong form for the Roosters this season, divided opinion when the Blues’ team sheet was released last Sunday.

Prior to news of Edwards’ injury, Roosters coach Trent Robinson said on Saturday that it would have been a tough call choosing between the two elite options.

“(But) they’ve both been in the top three or four form players in the competition to start the year,” he said.

“It made it a difficult choice, I imagine.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 28: Dylan Edwards of the Blues poses during a New South Wales Blues State of Origin media opportunity at NSWRL Centre of Excellence on May 28, 2024 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
Dylan Edwards is out of Origin I with injury. Credit: Matt King/Getty Images

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