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The spotlight may be on Sonny Bill Williams but James Tedesco continues to shine

As expected, the noise surrounding Sonny Bill Williams’ NRL return rose to a deafening pitch as sports lovers from around the world tuned in to see the cross-code player make his second debut for the Roosters. Indeed, it wasn’t just the rugby league community that were glued to their TV sets but also rugby union fans, as well as followers of boxing. If Jonny Cash had released his 1962 hit ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’ in 2020, you can be in no doubt that the 35-year-old Williams would be the main character in the music video, for there isn’t a place this global megastar hasn’t been. 

He may have only got 14 minutes against Canberra but there was the odd flash of magic, including a telling offload for Luke Keary that suggests that Willimas’ time in the NRL may well be more enjoyable than his time with the Toronto Wolfpack in the Super League. At the very least, Williams was able to enjoy that winning feeling again, which he never experienced once during his time with the Canadian outfit. 
Despite the narrative focusing solely on Williams, it was actually James Tedesco that starred the most. The fullback was the first to cross the whitewash when he opened the scoring for the Roosters and was there again at the end to secure the win with another sensational individual effort.  
The 27-year-old is surely the best rugby league player on the planet at the moment and the driving force behind the Roosters’ domination of the NRL. It is absolutely no coincidence that the team from the eastern suburbs of Sydney have won back-to-back Grand Finals while Tedecoso has been in the form of his life. In fact, it doesn’t seem fair to put Tedesco’s greatness down to being in a purple patch – after all, we all know that form is temporary and class is permanent. Tedesco is a modern-day great.

The NRL betting markets also reflect that, as the Roosters are the outright favorites to make it a hat-trick of Grand Final wins at odds of 12/5. Few would bet against them, given that they look to be finding that extra gear in the final throes of the regular season. Indeed, good teams know when to turn it on and the Roosters are beginning to find that fluidity when it counts the most.
Of course, now that Sonny Bill Williams has returned, he will be tasked with aiding the team in their bid to win the Grand Final and you imagine he will have a part to play somewhere along the way. Perhaps, this will even be in the final itself, as the 35-year-old is no stranger to performing on the biggest of stages, having won the 2015 World Cup with New Zealand. 
However, it is not Williams’ performances that will have the most influence over this team during the business end of the season, but rather James Tedesco’s. If the fullback is able to keep his level of consistency up, then the Roosters will surely go all the way again.



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