Blues call Cordner into camp as Tedesco reveals painful battle in Townsville

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Blues call Cordner into camp as Tedesco reveals painful battle in Townsville

By Adam Pengilly

James Tedesco wants Boyd Cordner to join NSW’s camp before a potential series-sealing game two as the Blues skipper revealed how he needed two pain-killing injections at half-time just to finish the State of Origin rout in Townsville.

While Nathan Cleary’s deep facial wound dominated the headlines out of the series opener, Tedesco waged a secret battle with a hip pointer problem which caused him distress in the second half of game one.

It is exactly the hallmarks for which his NSW and Roosters predecessor Cordner was praised for, playing through pain and leading with actions rather than words.

And only a week after Cordner announced his retirement due to ongoing concussion concerns, Tedesco said Blues officials have asked the 29-year-old to join NSW camp before the clash at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday night.

Cordner is the last NSW captain to lift the Origin shield, winning the 2019 series when Tedesco scored a last-minute try at Stadium Australia. He was also the man to lead the Blues in their 2018 victory, Fittler’s first series in charge.

“He’s a true warrior and a true leader,” Tedesco said of Cordner.

James Tedesco needed two pain-killing injections at half-time to finish the State of Origin series opener.

James Tedesco needed two pain-killing injections at half-time to finish the State of Origin series opener.Credit:Getty

“For me it’s about watching him and how he conducts himself, who he is as a man. You look at him and he’s got that presence. When he walks into a room and says something, it really has a meaning. Just watching him and learning from him is a big thing.

“I know he’s really proud of me how I’ve developed as a player, and that’s all from watching him and learning from him.

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“It was a bit of a shock [when he retired]. I thought he was looking good at training and he was doing a lot of individual stuff and he was coming in and out of the team component. He obviously had some stuff going on at home and for Boydo to make that call, it must have been serious.

“But Freddy said he was welcome to come in and I think he’s going to come up.”

“I know he’s really proud of me how I’ve developed as a player, and that’s all from watching him and learning from him.”

James Tedesco

While Tom Trbojevic and Latrell Mitchell received most of the plaudits after the Blues’ record-breaking win in the far north, Tedesco had one of his busiest Origin matches with a team-high 220 running metres, according to Champion Data.

But it was the tumult he endured in the lead-up to and after the match which was quietly hidden from public view, Tedesco needing to have fluid drained from the problem area after NSW’s demolition.

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He missed the Roosters’ heart-stopping one-point win against the Titans and then barely trained before their loss to the Panthers. The 28-year-old remains undecided whether he will need another needle before Origin II.

“Game one, it was really hurting in the second half,” Tedesco said. “It was causing me a bit of grief, but I got through the Panthers game really well. I was a bit concerned during the week as I didn’t train much. Now it is more a week to week thing.

“We’ve all got to play our role in the team. I know Tommy and Latrell got the rewards for it, but I feel like as captain I can lead in that way. If I have to do the tough stuff and take the tough carries, I’m happy to. If I score tries or set up tries in another game I’m happy with that too. That’s how the game goes.”

The Blues trained for the first time in Kingscliff on Tuesday with Tom Trbojevic and Junior Paulo restricted to light duties after NRL commitments on Sunday.

Fittler had his side return to their earthing ways, walking a lap of their training field barefoot after an intense hitout in front of a hearty group of local supporters.

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