JAMES Tedesco has all the talent in the world – without mental assistance, it may not have counted for much.
The Australia skipper leads the Kangaroos into an antipodean battle with New Zealand for a World Cup final place as they look to hold on to the trophy.
Throw in NRL titles and State of Origin victories and you may think life could not get much better.
But without being showed how to believe in himself, he may not have got very far.
That is where a different kind of agency, Ignite, came in as Tedesco said: “I linked up with Joe Wehbe in 2014 or 2015. He was just someone to talk to about the game and life – he’s always been there.
“Early in my career, I had serious injuries. I did my ACL in 2013 and have had four surgeries – there was a lot of self-doubt.
“And back then, the mental side of the game wasn’t addressed as much as it is now. That’s a big part of me playing good rugby and clear rugby now. It definitely helped.”
Tedesco faces a familiar face tonight as opposite full back Joseph Manu is one of three number ones playing in the last four who ply their trade at NRL side Sydney Roosters.
At club level, the 29-year-old occupies that slot but he knows his pal will be out to get him as he looks to extend his stay in Manchester.
He added: “Hopefully I’ll be playing Old Trafford in the final – we’ve a job to do against the Kiwis first.
“But it’s been great staying in Manchester so far. Being fairly anonymous has been brilliant. You can go to the shops without getting noticed or being asked for a photo.
“That’s a bit different to back home but a lot of the squad has enjoyed being able to get out and about.
“And it’s do or die now, the Kiwis will come out hard.”
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