The Canberra Raiders’ flailing recruitment drive has received another shattering blow, with Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco backflipping on the three-year, $1.8 million deal he signed to move to the capital only last week.
One of the code’s hottest properties, Tedesco was viewed as the ideal replacement for Brisbane-bound fullback Anthony Milford. But the 21-year-old got cold feet, opting to back out of the Raiders deal and re-sign with the Tigers, who have insisted they did not increase their original offer – believed to be $150,000-a-season less than Canberra’s.
Under the NRL’s controversial rules, Tedesco had until Round 13 – which starts tomorrow – to renege on the contract.
“I firstly need to apologise to the Canberra Raiders for my change of heart,” Tedesco said, before explaining: “I realised it would too hard to leave my best mates.”
The boom custodian’s earnest apology did little to appease the frustrated Raiders, however. Desperate to bolster its roster, the club also narrowly missed out on luring Melbourne backrower Kevin Proctor and Penrith winger Josh Mansour, while it also appears Canterbury hooker Michael Ennis will spurn the Raiders to join Cronulla at the end of the season.
Wests Tigers are understandably ecstatic at keeping the nucleus of their burgeoning young squad together. Several teammates took to social media to voice their elation at Tedesco’s decision, while chief executive Grant Mayer praised him for following his heart and not the money.
In another boost for the Tigers, the No.1 speedster will make his return from a two-month injury layoff against Newcastle on Sunday.
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