James Tedesco looks like being groomed as the next NSW State of Origin skipper, after being appointed vice-captain for game two on Sunday in Perth.
Blues coach Brad Fittler announced the decision at the team's jersey presentation, where former NSW enforcer Mark Geyer handed out the jumpers.
Tedesco has been arguably the best player this season in the NRL, leading the league in line breaks (13) and tackle breaks (84), and third in kick-return metres.
And he was easily the Blues' best in their game-one defeat, carrying the ball for a team-high 256 metres, breaking five tackles and offloading twice.
"Teddy works hard in every game he plays for NSW," Fittler said. "He always leads by example and I'm confident he'll embrace the extra responsibility."
Veteran five-eighth James Maloney appeared the favourite for the role, having been among the most vocal players this week in camp.
Jake Trbojevic was also understood to have been in the running, but Fittler has seemingly planned for the future by picking Tedesco to stand behind current captain and Sydney Roosters teammate Boyd Cordner.
Tedesco is one year younger than the 27-year-old Cordner, who might be given a rare spell during the contest in Perth, instead of his customary 80-minute efforts.
Fittler's 17-man squad includes St George Illawarra enforcer Tariq Sims and Cronulla star Wade Graham, both of whom also play left edge for their clubs. Graham substituted for Cordner at various points this week during training.
And should Cordner get some rest during the match, Tedesco will be the man to lead the team against Queensland. Tedesco rises to the position after eight Origin games, having debuted in 2016.
"I feel privileged every time I pull on the blue jumper for NSW, and it's a tremendous honour to represent your state and all the fans who support us," Tedesco said.
"I'm very humbled to have been selected as vice-captain, as there are so many champion players to choose from in our team.
"I'll be doing everything I can to support my captain Boyd Cordner and lead by example to ensure the shield remains in NSW."
Geyer played just three games for the Blues between 1989-91, but his confrontation with Queensland great Wally Lewis is in Origin folklore.
Geyer also played three seasons for the defunct Western Reds from 1995-97.
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