James Tedesco preparing to go head to head with childhood idol Jarryd Hayne
August 12, 20169:37pm
Dean RitchieThe Daily Telegraph
ADMIRE James Tedesco’s flamboyant playing style? What about his speed? Footwork?
Well, he was inspired as a teenager by the player he confronts at Campbelltown Stadium — Jarryd Hayne.
A massive Campbelltown crowd is expected when the two locals lads star in what should be an enthralling and entertaining NRL match.
Tedesco revealed to The Daily Telegraph that he grew up adoring ‘The Hayne Plane’.
“He was a player I watched in my teenage years. I would look up to him and try and be like him,” Tedesco said.
“Jarryd scored some awesome tries back in 2009, his breakout year. His strength, speed and footwork — they were things I wanted to put in my game.
“But it will be a different story (today). I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. I just want to play my natural game and not put too much emphasis on him. If I put all my energy into Jarryd then it will take away from all thoughts about my game.”
Now a bona fide star himself, Tedesco is still adjusting to life in the limelight.
“I haven’t changed to be honest. I stay positive and stay myself. I haven’t changed my personality.
“I’m not uncomfortable (with publicity). I have got used to it I guess. I still have the same values. It’s all part of it and I have accepted that. It’s me being me and playing my natural game.
“It’s about being confident in myself and knowing that I have earned that through playing good footy, that recognition. It’s not like I’m the best or a superstar. It (media exposure) can be hard, especially with the media and reading too much stuff. If you read too many stories about your or your team, it can get in your head too much and you over think things.
“I don’t like to read anything about myself. It gets in your head. If that happens, then that can hurt you because you worry about what other people think of you.”
Tedesco has fought back from a series of early-career injuries. He managed to keep his speed, mental resilience and hunger.
“It’s about playing good footy — that’s just me being me and playing the way I usually play,” he said. “I have worked harder on keeping my body fresh and right. That was what let me down for the first few years. These last couple of years have been good for me and my body and getting consistency on the field.”