Aaron Woods has pointed to James Tedesco as proof Tyrell Sloan can become a genuine star for St George Illawarra, despite the teenage fullback being dropped for a second time this season.
Sloan's comeback from reserve grade lasted just one week, sent back to NSW Cup by coach Anthony Griffin after a tough finish to his team's Magic Round loss to Gold Coast.
Sloan made two late errors and gave away a penalty in the golden-point defeat, after spending the previous six rounds back in reserve grade.
Players were adamant on Thursday the 19-year-old's confidence had not been severely knocked around by the call, and that they understood the move in the interest of the Dragons re-finding form.
But after being hyped as a future superstar of the club in the pre-season, Woods said he could see similarities in Sloan's early lessons and the way he saw Tedesco's game grow at Wests Tigers.
"In about four or five years time he will be up there with the top dogs," Woods said.
"He's just one of those players with the natural gift of popping up at the right spot at the right time.
"I played with Tedesco at a young age, and it took him three or four years to realise how to be a really good fullback.
"Everyone thinks it's scoring tries, and that's all it is. But they get our defensive line set, all the numbers, they count everything. It took Teddy quite a while to learn.
"For Sloany, he just has to work hard on those little things. Teddy took three or four years and I really see a superstar out of Sloany, he will be good."
With Moses Mbye playing hooker for the injured Andrew McCullough, Cody Ramsey will play fullback against the Warriors and make for the Dragons fifth spine combination this year.
Captain Ben Hunt has admitted that takes some adaptation in attack, particularly working with different fullbacks who move at different speeds.
But after taking on a mentor role with Sloan and young five-eighth Talatau Amone when they were first dropped in March, Hunt is certain the young No.1 is in a good headspace and can rebound.
"The biggest lesson for (Sloan) is to back himself and be confident," Hunt said.
"We have all seen glimpses of the talent Tyrell has got. We all support him.
"We just want him to go after it and show what he has for 80 minutes.
"If he can really develop his game and keep backing himself for a full 80 minutes he is going to be one of the better fullbacks in the competition."
Australian Associated Press
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