Benji raves about Tigers’ brightest prospect since Teddy
Wests Tigers teenage sensation Tommy Talau is being hailed as the next James Tedesco and veteran Benji Marshall believes he'll win a starting spot in Michael Maguire's side in 2020.
Marshall told News Corp that Talau, 19, was the brightest prospect to come through Concord since local junior and former Tigers fullback Tedesco.
"Tommy Talau has the most potential of any young kid I have seen since James Tedesco," Marshall said.
"Yeah, (it's a big call) but the potential is there and of course he has to fulfil it. But with the right work ethic, I think he'll have a lot to offer this club."
Talau is the son of former Canterbury centre Willie Talau, who played 277 games in Australia and England - including 101 for the Bulldogs.
Talau was destined to make his NRL debut for the same club as his father but Tigers coach Maguire pulled off a massive coup by snatching the youngster from Belmore.
The rising playmaker helped guide the Bulldogs to last year's S.G. Ball grand final and was the side's top-scorer.
Maguire upgraded Talau's development contract to a top-30 spot on his roster before this year's June 30 deadline, which allowed him to make his NRL debut against Manly in round 22.
Talau, who is normally a five-eighth, made his debut at centre. It's the same spot that Marshall is predicting he will play in round one of 2020.
"I think round one he'll be a starting centre … this kid can play. In my opinion he could be anything," Marshall said.
As well as Jersey Flegg, Talau played nine games in the Canterbury Cup for Western Suburbs Magpies this year and scored four tries, made four line breaks and averaged four tackle busts per game.
Marshall believes the emergence of Talau will ease the pain of watching Tedesco win back-to-back premierships with the Sydney Roosters and this year's Dally M award - plus almost every other accolade and trophy on offer since leaving Concord to play for the Bondi club in 2018.
"Teddy is probably the best kid I've ever had anything to do with and spent time with … the way he trains, his work ethic on the field. But, yeah, Tigers fans are gutted about it because what he's doing now he's doing at another club," Marshall said.
Moorebank junior Talau isn't the only up-and-coming Tiger that has the ability to be a selection bolter in 2020.
Marshall also said one particular forward was destined for NRL stardom.
"Alex Seyfarth, he's a young forward we have, who again has the potential to be something special. But it can be hard with young guys because it's one thing to have potential but it's another thing to go and prove it because the game is getting so much harder," he said.