The drive inside the Blues’ new boss
The prince of Camden is now the king of New South Wales.
Superstar fullback James Tedesco will realise a childhood dream when he leads the Blues out onto ANZ Stadium as captain for State of Origin II on Wednesday night.
"This was always his dream and everyone has their dreams, but he always said this was what he was going to do, from an early age," Tedesco's proud mother Rosemary told The Daily Telegraph.
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He isn't even captain for his club side the Sydney Roosters, yet the 27-year old has been handed the armband after teammate Boyd Cordner was ruled out for the rest of the series.
Tedesco has achieved so much in the game already, including two premiership victories, a Dally M medal and a Wally Lewis medal as player of the series last year.
But this latest honour is something else.
Now Tedesco joins a pantheon of legends which includes Peter Sterling, Laurie Daley, Andrew Johns and Blues coach Brad Fittler as a NSW captain.
"We picked him because he's a natural leader and hopefully he brings that on," Fittler said.
"He's a bit of a quiet bloke, a bit like Boyd, he doesn't say much but he's always looking after himself and he's very professional.
"If a young bloke in the group looks at his skipper he's going to learn something.
"At the moment his head is really in his footy and he's getting the most out of every day.
"The fact he's been with Boyd for a couple of years is a really good feature - it shows him you don't have to change, you don't have to be different.
"I'm just as interested as anyone to see how he handles it, but he handled the vice-captaincy really well and he was pretty chuffed, he was pretty honoured.
"Teddy's game revolves a lot around other people, so it's more about what he can bring out of everyone else for the next phase, which he's doing really well."
Claiming the captaincy is just the latest step in Tedesco's remarkable rise.
The 27-year old defied a host of injuries early in his career, including a catastrophic knee injury in his NRL debut back in 2012, to become arguably the best player in the world.
"The thing is, he hasn't always been the best but he's so mentally strong. If you tell James you can't do something he'll just go and prove you wrong 10 times over. That's his thing," Tedesco's father John told The Daily Telegraph.
"He doesn't show a lot of emotion. When Freddy made him vice-captain the group might not have noticed, but when he rang us up he was very excited.
"He likes to stay calm, but you could see how excited he was. We're so happy for him."
Tedesco has not captained an NRL side before - Cordner and Jake Friend share leadership duties at the Roosters - but the 27-year old has the temperament and skill to lead by example on Wednesday night.
He'll carry the hopes of a state on his shoulders, but Tedesco has shown over the last three years that's a weight he's able to bear.
"Him being announced as the New South Wales captain, I can't believe it, who would have thought?" Rosemary Tedesco said.
"This was always his dream and everyone has their dreams, but he always said this was what he was going to do, from an early age.
"He's managed to be able to fulfil his dream with his resilience.
"A few people said to me when he was younger that he might get some rep honours, but there's a lot of footballers out there.
"This is a dream come true, for him and for us."
Tedesco was never a regular captain as a junior, but his father is sure he can handle the pressure that comes with leadership.
"He wasn't a captain, he was never boisterous, he wasn't like that - but he could lead with his actions," John said.
"When they look at him they can't see what's inside, but inside there's this drive where he can do whatever he likes."
Originally published as The drive inside the Blues' new boss