James Tedesco and Jack Wighton have plenty in common on paper and the two dynamic fullbacks are set to go head-to-head in an exciting encounter this weekend at GIO Stadium.
Both 23-years-of-age (born just one month apart), both players debuted in 2012, both have City-Country representative honours and of course, both will wear the number 1 jersey this weekend.
As all Wests Tigers fans will know, Tedesco’s form to open the 2016 season has been nothing short of phenomenal. The Camden Rams junior leads the NRL for tries scored (eight) and is second for most line-breaks (seven).
Wighton has also started the year strong for Canberra, recording over 100 metres in all seven matches this year, including a stellar 179-metre effort in Round 5 against the Bulldogs.
While Tedesco and Wighton are the main focus in this Round 8 encounter, don't be surprised to see fellow attacking weapons Kevin Naiqama and Jordan Rapana play a key role in the match - with both players in excellent form recently.
There has plenty of feeling between the two sides over the years (with the last encounter resulting in former Raiders prop Dave Shillington being sent off), so expect both Tedesco and Wighton to come out firing in what is a huge game for both sides.
The record books show that Tedesco has won two out of his three matches against Wighton. However, their first clash in 2014 at Campbelltown Sports Stadium saw Tedesco unfortunately leave the field with a knee injury –with his teammates going on to win the match 19-18.
Following on from that game, the pair met twice last season and notched up one win each. Wighton crossed for a try in the Raiders’ Round 7 victory at Leichhardt Oval, while Tedesco returned the favour in the Wests Tigers’ Round 22 triumph at GIO Stadium.
City vs Country preview…
Tedesco (City) and Wighton (Country) have also met twice on a representative level in the annual City-Country fixture.
Wighton has won both of those match-ups, with the Country side claiming the shield in 2013 and 2015.
This weekend could well be a preview of the 2016 match, which will take place in Tamworth on May 8, with both players once again in the mix for representative honours.
Tedesco climbing the leader board…
Tedesco’s excellent try-scoring ratio of 39 tries in just 59 games has seen him quickly climb the Club’s leader board.
The 23-year-old is currently equal eighth for most Wests Tigers tries with Brett Hodgson, Tim Moltzen and Chris Heighington.
Tedesco needs just four tries to overtake Team of 15 years winger Taniela Tuiaki, who scored 42 tries in his 78 NRL games.
Benji Marshall (76) leads the way, followed by Chris Lawrence (72), Robbie Farah (59), Pat Richards (52), Beau Ryan (46) and Daniel Fitzhenry (45).