THE father of injured Wests Tigers star James Tedesco has slammed the NRL for failing to do enough to protect its stars, declaring: “Nobody goes to watch Ryan James, they go to watch James Tedesco”.
John Tedesco said it had only been a matter of time before his son suffered serious injury after being repeatedly attacked around the head this season.
He also revealed his son feared he would be suspended for making contact with a referee during the clash with the Gold Coast, before he had his jaw broken by James.
To add insult to Tedesco’s injury, Titans forward James will front the judiciary on Wednesday night in an attempt to avoid suspension after pleading not guilty to his grade two careless high tackle charge.
John Tedesco confirmed the fullback underwent surgery at a Sydney private hospital last night and had a plate inserted into his jaw by the same surgeon who repaired the jaw of St George Illawarra ace Josh Dugan.
“It’s disappointing because we should be doing more to protect the star players, and that’s why people go to the game — nobody goes to watch Ryan James, they go to watch James Tedesco,’’ John told The Daily Telegraph.
“That’s not the first time he’s been hit in the head. You only had to look back to Origin when he was caught short of the try line, and then (Greg) Inglis comes in over the top with an elbow to the face.
“These players claim it’s an accident, but they need to be more careful.
“Corey Parker got one week for hitting James in Origin, and he had a clean record for 15 years. Ryan James only gets one week for breaking his jaw.
“James actually said to me he was worried he would be in trouble for touching a referee earlier in the game. Why should players have to worry about that? I could see he wasn’t himself.’’
It’s understood James sent Tedesco a text message to apologise late Sunday.
Gold Coast officials confirmed they will fight the charge at the NRL judiciary.
Despite being sidelined the remainder of the season, John Tedesco said his son was in wonderful spirits.
“His parents are more down than him,’’ John said.
Depending on his recovery, Tedesco’s next game could be the Prime Minister’s XIII against Papua New Guinea at the end of next month.
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga will also oversee the PM’s XIII, and should he give Tedesco the nod, will get a quick idea if he is ready for the Four Nations tour.
Had he not broken his jaw, Tedesco would have been right in the mix for a spot in the extended squad to play against Scotland, England and New Zealand.
While Tedesco will be crushed by not being part of the Tigers push to the finals, which continues with a road trip to Penrith on Friday night, being denied a potential Kangaroos jumper could also hurt him financially.
Players stand to earn $50,000 if Australia wins the Four Nations, collect $40,000 if they finish runners-up, and $30,000 if they don’t reach the final.
CHRISTIAN NICOLUSSI, The Daily Telegraph