Fullback James Tedesco stamped his class on the Sydney Roosters' 30-16 NRL Magic Round win over the North Queensland Cowboys on Saturday night.
With State of Origin selection just around the corner, Tedesco inspired the Roosters past an improved Cowboys outfit, in a statement performance in the face of several contenders for the New South Wales No.1 jersey.
Ryan Papenhuyzen, Latrell Mitchell, Tom Trbojevic and Clint Gutherson have all put their hand up for the rep footy fullback spot, but that debate was ended against the Cowboys according to Roosters coach Trent Robinson.
Tedesco ran for 214 metres, had three line breaks and a three try assists to lift the Roosters to their fifth win in seven games.
The 28-year-old lit up Suncorp Stadium with a stunning run in the 51st minute, beating three hapless Cowboys defenders, before a miracle pass found forward Angus Crichton, to dent a 16-point North Queensland run.
The Roosters had let an 18-0 lead slop following Sitili Tupouniua's sin bin for a high shot.
Cowboys five-eight Scott Drinkwater scored a quickfire try-double to shock Tedesco and the Roosters into action with the game on the line.
Anthony Tupou and Crichton each bagged a pair of tries as the Roosters ran in six tries to three to complete a 14-point win in front of 45,155 fans in Brisbane.
"I thought Teddy carried us on his shoulders tonight. I thought he was a step above everyone else on the ground and that was the difference," Robinson says.
"He decided to own that game, and he did and we needed him to - it was a pleasure to watch him play tonight."
"We take it [Tedesco's form] for granted and we expect him to play a certain way and he does every single week.
"I have enjoyed the chat about the different fullbacks in the game because there are many wonderful fullbacks because they get the freedom to play the way they want to play."
"Ever since he started playing it's all been an internal drive about how much can he get out of himself,"
"He hasn't tried to mimic or mirror any other player. Even though I think he would know the challenge is out there, that's not his major driving force - it's an internal desire to be the best."
Meanwhile, Robinson wasn't as harsh as a few of his fellow coaches this weekend on the increase of sin-binnings over NRL's Magic Round.
Friday night's two fixtures saw an incredible eight sin bins, with several more on Saturday as well as a send-off handed to Canberra Raiders enforcer Josh Papalii.
Robinson says the balance is somewhere in between what has been ruled earlier in the season and so far this weekend.
"Based on the rules they both deserved to go [in Saturday's clash]," he said.
"It [crackdown] has been a bit over the top this weekend but...it will recalibrate after this weekend because there has been such an uproar over it but we also need to recalibrate the height of our tackle.
"You would prefer a pre-season to do it so the timing is an interesting one but in the end we have to do it.
"We have got to accept that we have to get our gun sights lower on a more consistent basis.
"I heard some people say it is not the game that I remember - just calm down, we will get there.
"We haven't got it right this weekend but they [NRL] will get it right. "Let's just wear it, enjoy Magic Round and end up somewhere [between] where we were last week and where we are this week."
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