THERE are still 89 days until their NRL season kicks off, but already the Sydney Roosters are in lockdown.
The Bondi club did their best to make zero fuss about their $4 million man James Tedesco officially starting training this morning.
Official requests to take some photos of the superstar fullback's first day on the job were politely knocked back.
But The Daily Telegraph spotted Tedesco shortly after 10.30am to capture him decked out in some pristine and snug Roosters training gear, images which will no doubt break the hearts of thousands of fans at his former club the Wests Tigers.
Tedesco looked in good spirits as he walked from Roosters HQ and shared a laugh with Blake Ferguson, his NSW teammate and winger.
The pair, followed by former Parramatta and Waratahs flyer Reece Robinson in the background, joined the likes of Luke Keary and Jake Friend who had commenced training half an hour earlier on a sunny Sydney Monday.
There is plenty of pressure on the Roosters and coach Trent Robinson to win the 2018 NRL title after they not only secured Tedesco but also won the race for the game's best halfback, Cooper Cronk.
Bookies reacted again over the weekend by tightening the Roosters' premiership price from $6 to $5, making them the shortest-priced pre-season favourites since Manly a decade ago.
Provided Cronk and Tedesco remain fit, nothing less than a top-two finish would be unacceptable for the Roosters who bowed out with a whimper last season.
While Tedesco was kept under raps - even the club's website did not post any training photos of Tedesco - seven days earlier Newcastle were more than happy to unveil their own new marquee man, former Roosters' No. 7 Mitchell Pearce.
Tedesco told The Daily Telegraph late last month he was keen to combine with Cronk and enjoy the kind of success he had with fullback Billy Slater at Melbourne.
"Cooper is one of the best halves in the world, and the way he and Billy combined for so many years, and how well they looked together, it's pretty exciting for me to know I can learn a thing or two off Cooper,'' Tedesco said.
"He's got a big footy brain, so I'm keen to learn off him and excited what he can do for my game.''
Tedesco also said the Roosters colours took him back to his childhood when playing for Camden in the same red, white and blue.
The Roosters will open their season against Tedesco's former club, Wests Tigers.
Tedesco featured in Italy's forgettable World Cup campaign, but was desperate to start life at the Bondi club where he will spend the next four seasons.
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