Wests Tigers to Tedesco: Are you staying?

The future of James Tedesco is set to become clear imminently, with Wests Tigers setting a Monday deadline on the fullback to tell them whether he will remain with the club in the face of a $2.4 million offer from Canberra.

Wests Tigers have been desperate to retain the off-contract 21-year-old, who struck up a wonderful combination with halfback Luke Brooks before suffering an ankle injury last month. However, their offer of $500,000 over four years has been dwarfed by a three-year, $800,000 per season bid by Ricky Stuart's Raiders, who are looking to overhaul their squad with several key signing targets. Tigers chief executive Grant Mayer is expected to meet Tedesco manager Sam Ayoub on Monday, with the Sydney club wanting an answer one way or the other as to whether the Wests junior intends to remain beyond this season.

With Canberra willing to pay over the odds to attract leading players, it may well be an offer that Tedesco can't refuse. It is understood the Tigers can't go close to matching the money dished up by the Raiders for next year, with no room to budge in the 2015 cap, although there is the possibility a new Tedesco deal could be improved by being back-ended for its later years. The loss of Tedesco would be a significant blow for the Tigers, whose fan base has been lifted by the promise suggested by the irresistible combination between the fullback and Brooks in the early rounds.

Having moved on from the Benji Marshall era, the Tigers have looked to secure a bright future by nailing down Brooks, another emerging five-eighth, Mitchell Moses, and more recently winger David Nofoaluma and utility Curtis Sironen to long-term deals. Tedesco was another important piece in that puzzle, but after interest from Canterbury their hopes of re-signing the Menangle flyer have been hijacked by the Canberra team with cash to burn.

The Raiders' ascendancy was demonstrated by the photographing of the star No.1 and Penrith's Josh Mansour, another client of Ayoub's, arriving back from Canberra last week in the company of the crafty player agent. The Raiders have also shown keen interest in Bulldogs captain Michael Ennis and Melbourne's Kevin Proctor. It is the decision of yet another one of Ayoub's players, Anthony Milford, to honour an agreement to join Brisbane that has freed up Canberra to have a red-hot crack at Tedesco.

The in-form Ennis is reportedly the subject of a two-year $500,000 a season offer by Stuart's men in green. He said on Sunday he was seriously considering where his future lies. Canterbury's acquisition of emerging Cronulla hooker Michael Lichaa for next year and beyond has left the former NSW State of Origin No.9 in limbo. ''Obviously, at the moment I'm 30 years of age. Obviously I love the club that I'm at but I've got a young family and I've got to make a decision,'' Ennis told Channel Nine. ''It's probably going to be my last contract. I just need to make sure that I take the time and make sure it's the right one and explore all avenues.''

Asked about the future of his partner in crime Tedesco on Sunday, Brooks told Triple M: ''I was telling him last night he better stay but I'm not too sure what he's going to do. Hopefully he does stay.''

The story Wests Tigers to Tedesco: Are you staying? first appeared on WA Today.

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