Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco now wants to stay put. Photo: Getty Images
Canberra’s marquee recruit James Tedesco has abandoned his lucrative deal with the Raiders and wants to remain at the Wests Tigers.
It is a devastating blow for Canberra who over the past this week have missed out on Penrith winger Josh Mansour, Canterbury hooker Michael Ennis and Melbourne forward Kevin Proctor.
Raiders chief executive Don Furner was furious at the development on Wednesday night.
When asked about whether Tedesco had turned his back on the club, he responded: “Yes and we are bitterly disappointed at the way it was handled… that’s our only quote.”
Tedesco approached the club on Wednesday evening and advised chief executive Grant Mayer that his preference was to stay at the Wests Tigers beyond this season.
“There is no doubt that this has been a difficult period for James and his family but we are clearly thrilled that he has decided to stay with the club. This is a brave decision by James that will undoubtedly show many that his belief in his mates and belief in the club far outweighs all other influences. All at the club are delighted with his decision and we will work towards concluding the terms that were last available to him from the Wests Tigers.”
Tedesco added: “I firstly need to apologise to the Canberra Raiders for my change of heart. They have been great throughout the whole process. That said, I never felt totally comfortable with my decision and after thinking it through I realised it would be too hard to leave my best mates. I understand that the Raiders and their fans will be disappointed and I apologise to all of them for making this decision and I only hope they will understand.”
The decision by Tedesco is allowed under the NRL rules.
Canberra were desperate to recruit a quality fullback after Anthony Milford confirmed h would honour his two-year contract with the Brisbane Broncos after this season.
Tedesco said at the time of his signing with the Raiders it was tough telling Tigers teammates he had agreed to be part of Stuart’s rebuilding drive from 2015.
The Wests junior was believed to be on a contract worth around $ 1.9 million, which was said to have made him Canberra’s highest-paid player.