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Roosters worry about defence, not Tedesco

NZN 9/04/2017 Scott Bailey

Sydney Roosters co-captain Jake Friend is more concerned about his team's sudden defensive woes than the potential recruitment of James Tedesco.

The Roosters, along with Canterbury, are considered the front-runners to secure the off-contract Wests Tigers fullback, after Tedesco revealed last week the two NRL clubs were chasing him.

It's understood Roosters legend Anthony Minichiello is leading the negotiations for the Tricolours, after the pair played for Italy at the 2013 World Cup.

But Friend wasn't keen to buy into the speculation about the 24-year-old's possible 2018 arrival when quizzed on Monday morning.

"I'm not sure where that's all at," Friend said.

"As players it's a bit above us, we're just worried about what we have to do on the field and around the place."

Friend has played with Tedesco in Prime Minister's XIII teams and he likes what he sees.

"He's a great player," he said.

"He's very skilful and a good bloke."

The Roosters skipper is also unconcerned about the impact rumours surrounding Tedesco might have on current fullback Michael Gordon.

Gordon has starred for the Roosters this season, scoring four tries and busting through 19 tackles in the opening six rounds.

The 33-year-old Gordon arrived at the Roosters this year on a one-year deal, and revealed to AAP last month he was considering retirement at the end of the season.

However, he admitted it was a decision he was unlikely to make until after he had played his final game of the year.

"I'm sure Mick is fine, he's a really cruisy dude," Friend said.

"Mick sort of does his job and goes under the radar a bit. He's been to a lot of clubs and performed well at all of them.

"He came here and performed straight away for us."

Of more concern to Friend is fixing an uncharacteristic crumbling defensive line ahead of Friday's trip to Newcastle.

They missed 52 tackles in their 32-8 loss to Brisbane on Thursday, prompting coach Trent Robinson to label it as the poorest he had seen from the club in a long time.

And combined with the 38 they missed in their previous loss to Manly, the Roosters have now missed as many tackles in the past two weeks as they did in their whole unbeaten opening month to the season.

"There's a bit of attitude stuff we'll be talking about," Friend said.

"It was a lot of missed tackles, and a lot of offloads.

"I'm sure we will be going over it and doing a bit of work on it during the week."

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