WHEN Pat Richards’ 80th minute field goal sailed through the posts to give Wests Tigers a 19-18 victory over the Gold Coast Titans in Round 1, it was fullback James Tedesco who was first to reach the winger and celebrate with him.

And as more teammates began to rush towards the pair and eventually swamp Richards in euphoria, Tedesco remembered just how fortunate and grateful he was to be back out on the field, celebrating a thrilling victory with his best friends.

“It was really good to get out there and get a win with the boys,” Tedesco said.

“It had been about seven or eight months since I’d had a game, so it was good to be out there again. And thanks to Patty for kicking that field goal too.

"It was just a really good feeling to be out there celebrating with the boys.

“I’m just feeling really grateful to be out there back amongst it once more.”

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While describing the Club’s attacking performance as “definitely less than perfect”, Tedesco said there were still plenty of positive signs coming from the Club’s opening round win over the Titans that they could take and build on this coming Monday night.

Starting with that spine, which played its first full performance together.

“Yeah, that was our first full game on the weekend, so we’ve obviously got a lot more to work on and improve together on,” reflected Tedesco.

“I had a good combination going with Luke [Brooks] at the start of the year and that was my first game with Mitch [Moses], so the more games we play together, the better that combination and understanding is going to be.

“I think we just need to try and not overplay our hand too much, not try to play too risky, and just let it come to us a bit and play what’s in front of us.

“I think if we can stay together, it will be beneficial for both us and the team.

“If everyone does their job, and I guess that’s across the whole team, we’ll go a long way and certainly play some good footy this year, that’s for sure.”

While the storylines write themselves in regards to Tedesco’s return to Campbelltown Sports Stadium — the ground of his childhood memories but also his season-ending knee injury against the Canberra Raiders last year — the young fullback is simply focused on doing the job ahead of him this week against the St. George-Illawarra Dragons.

“Hopefully we can get a big crowd out here on Monday night to support us,” he said.

“There were lots of fans on the Gold Coast supporting us, which was great for an away game, so hopefully they can turn out for our first home game.

“I’m really looking forward to this week in particular against the Dragons.

“Benji was a bit of a mentor for me coming through the junior grades and that, so it’s exciting to come up against him now in the NRL this weekend.

“I know Brooksy and Mitch both looked up to him a lot as kids as well, and while they got to play him last year, I didn’t get that chance at all.

“I can’t wait to get out there and play well against one of the players I looked up to.”

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