BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 11: James Tedesco and Boyd Cordner of the Blues looks dejected after defeat during game three of the State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on July 11, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Despite recent debate about State Origin being a trial for international selection, it’s been nearly three years since the Australian Kangaroos have played a rugby league Test.

A lot has changed in that time - and not just because of the impact of the global pandemic on the game and the world at large.

The captain of that last Kangaroos squad, Boyd Cordner, has since retired due to ongoing concussion issues, leaving a leadership void in the national team that will need to be addressed before the World Cup in October.

The former captain has some thoughts on who should fill the vacancy – and he’s been supported in his call by two of the other leading contenders.

Following the quick-fire retirements of Roosters leaders Cordner and Jake Friend, 2019 Dally M Player of the Year James Tedesco was the obvious choice to take the reins in Bondi.

The same thing then happened with the NSW Origin team, which Cordner also captained.

“We all know the player Teddy is, he’s never content until the final siren goes,” Cordner told The Daily Telegraph.

WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 25: James Tedesco of Australia is tackled during the International Rugby League Test Match between the Australian Kangaroos and the New Zealand Kiwis at WIN Stadium on October 25, 2019 in Wollongong, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

“He fights for every inch, and when your captain does that you have no other choice as a player (but) to go with him.”

“What he did with the Roosters last year, to keep them together under adversity and injuries, was unbelievable.”

“Imagine what he would be like leading Australia. He’d only grow (further) as a leader and player.”

While it’s little surprise Cordner would favour his former NRL team-mate for the national honour, he’s been supported by two other leading contenders – Nathan Cleary and Cameron Murray.

“Teddy’s up there with one of the best leaders I’ve played with in terms of what he says and what he backs up with his actions,” said Murray, who is captain of the South Sydney Rabbitohs and has captained NSW at under-18 and under-20 levels.

“I’d back him to become the next Test captain,” Murray told the Daily Telegraph.

Cleary, another club captain, was equally effusive in his praise of Tedesco.

“Ever since he got the NSW captaincy… he’s grown so much as a leader,” said Cleary.

“Everyone looks at him like this amazing player, and he is. But now he’s become this terrific leader.”

“When he speaks he commands respect, and that’s what a good captain needs. I think he’d do a great job for Australia.”