Tedesco's brilliance brings Tigers victory over Manly
IT MIGHT be only round two, but Tigers fullback James Tedesco must be in consideration for a Blues jersey, after a brilliant performance helped his team to a 36-22 win over Manly at Leichhardt Oval.
The lightning-fast custodian scored three tries and produced an assist in his team's victory, and arguably seems the best No.1 at the Tigers since Balmain legend Gary Jack.
In a first half of contrasting fortunes, the Tigers were by far the more dominant team, holding a comfortable 16-2 lead after 30 minutes.
But after some ill-discipline from the hosts - they gave away seven penalties to three in the first stanza - Manly found itself back in the contest.
A barge-over try from Lewis Brown and a piece of individual brilliance from five-eighth Dylan Walker saw the visitors trail just 16-10 at the break.
The Tigers scored their first through a pinpoint kick from in-form five-eighth Mitch Moses, which found David Nofoaluma for a simple finish, the winger scoring his first of two for the night.
Moses then combined brilliantly with halfback Luke Brooks, with Moses throwing a cut-out pass for Kevin Naiqama to score after 20 minutes.
It was Moses who again played a part in his team's third try three minutes later.
The 21-year-old pivot fended off former Tiger Martin Taupau and passed to Naiqama, who stepped inside Walker, with Tedesco finishing the movement.
Manly's fight-back continued in just the second minute of the second half with a Jorge Taufua try, to level the score at 16-all.
Taupau had a strong game while copping plenty of jeers from his former fans, scoring in the 73rd minute to set up a grandstand finish at 32-22 to the hosts.
The Sea Eagles could have had another one just two minutes later, but Nathan Green froze when he found himself in space 10m out while looking for support.
It was four more second half tries - Nofoaluma grabbing his second and Tedesco scoring twice in the last 10 minutes, after a 50th-minute try to Jordan Rankin - which secured the win for the hosts.
Tedesco dazzled in the final 10 minutes, combining brilliantly with his halves Brooks and Moses, to see his side win a thriller, while putting in a strong early case for a Blues jersey.
TIGERS 36 (J Tedesco 3, D Nofoaluma 2, K. Naiqama, J Rankin tries; M Moses 4 goals) def SEA EAGLES 22 (L Brown, D Walker, J Taufua, M Taupau tries; J Lyon 3 goals).
Crowd: 11,269 at Leichhardt Oval.