$1m to keep Tedesco a Tiger for life

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NRL: Fox Sports reporter James Hooper says there is a possibility James Tedesco could replace Matt Moylan at fullback for Origin III.

Tedesco has become the man the Tigers can’t afford to lose.

WESTS Tigers officials have already hatched a plan to ward off rivals and lock up superstar fullback James Tedesco until the end of 2021.

Tedesco is poised to become the NRL’s next $1 million-a-season man as he continues to press for a State of Origin debut.

The 23-year-old has been one of the shining lights in a rollercoaster year for the Tigers after almost conjuring the miraculous comeback against the white-hot Storm on the weekend.

Tigers boss Justin Pascoe said his club had already informed Tedesco they would open fresh contract talks at season’s end — and they would love to make the local junior a Tiger for Life.

Tedesco has become the man the Tigers can’t afford to lose.Source:AAP

On contract until the end of 2017, Tedesco will have no shortage of clubs queuing up to lure him away from the joint venture.

The new collective bargaining agreement will come into play from 2018, meaning Tedesco’s earnings will surge past the million-dollar mark as the salary cap balloons from $7.1 million in place next year.

Luke Brooks, Mitchell Moses and skipper Aaron Woods are all off contract at the end of next year, but the latter has an option in his favour for 2018. But Tedesco is the Tigers’ top signing priority.

“He represents all the values we hold dearly as an organisation, and he represents the future of this organisation,’’ Pascoe told The Daily Telegraph. “I’m happy we’ve got an agreement with Teddy when that (contract negotiation) will start.

“We’ll see out the season first, give him the full chance to concentrate on the final 10 games and hopefully a run into the finals, then sit down with him in the off-season.

“You assume with all the good players there’s a lot of interest from rival clubs, but James is aware of what we’re building here and understands the vision of what we’re trying to create as an organisation, and he’s certainly bought into it.

“He plays with his best mates. We’re certainly planning that Teddy becomes a big part of this future for the long term.’’

Tedesco’s performance against Melbourne could earn an Origin call-up.Source:Getty Images

Asked if he hoped Tedesco would be a Tiger for Life, Pascoe said: “Very much so.

“We’ll aim to tie him up long term. We’d love to have something locked up as soon as possible. We’ll have a discussion with him and his family and his management. We’d be looking at another three to four years, minimum.’’

Tedesco was almost lost to the Tigers at the end of 2014, signing a three-year $1.8 million deal with Canberra, only to backflip and settle for nearly $500,000 less. Good mate Robbie Farah had a big part in convincing Tedesco to remain with the Tigers.

As for playing game three for NSW, Tedesco has no shortage of supporters, including Pascoe.

Pascoe, who has plenty of respect for Blues’ No. 1 Matt Moylan whom he got to know while working at Penrith, stopped short of saying Tedesco deserved to replace Moylan, but deserved a spot somewhere in coach Laurie Daley’s NSW team.

Tedesco and Moylan will go head to head when the Tigers’ host Penrith at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

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