Wests Tigers chief executive Grant Mayer praised James Tedesco for putting his heart before his wallet and turning his back on a lucrative deal to join Canberra next year.

Earlier this month, the exciting young fullback put pen to paper on an agreement believed to be in the region of $650,000 a year after knocking back an inferior offer from the cash-strapped Tigers.

But Mayer said the 21-year-old, who enjoyed an outstanding World Cup campaign with Italy at the end of last year, realised on Wednesday afternoon that he couldn't leave the club he's been part of since he was 12.

"He's followed his heart and turned down marquee player money to stay with us," Mayer told AAP.


"It is fantastic news for us. Canberra did absolutely everything by the book.

"But when his manager asked me if our original offer was still on the table, we told it was and we're delighted to have him here as part of our long-term future."

A Campbelltown junior, Tedesco is one of several outstanding youngsters who have come through together at the NRL joint-venture.

"I think he looked around and saw Luke Brooks and Curtis Sironen and realised that he just wanted to play with his mates," Mayer said.

"We haven't offered him any more money than we already had, but we made a point of not bagging him when he signed for Canberra, hoping he may still stay.

"He's shown it's not about the money. It's about being happy and I salute him for that."

Tedesco apologised to the Raiders for his change of heart and admitted he wasn't 100 per cent committed to a move to the nation's capital and took advantage of the June 30 deadline when contracts have to be officially lodged to the NRL.

"They (Canberra) have been great throughout the whole process," Tedesco said.

"That said, I never felt totally comfortable with my decision and, after thinking it through, I realised it would be too hard to leave my best mates.

"I understand that the Raiders and their fans will be disappointed and I apologise to all of them for making this decision and I only hope they will understand."

The news will be a bitter blow to Raiders coach Ricky Stuart who has missed out on four major targets to rebuild his side.

Melbourne's Kevin Proctor shook hands on a deal with Stuart last week only to decide to stay at the Storm and, on Tuesday, Penrith's Josh Mansour turned his back on a big offer to stay at the Panthers.

Canterbury skipper Michael Ennis is also believed to be leaning towards a move to Cronulla ahead of the Raiders.

Ironically, the former Parramatta coach was on the other side of a similar situation 12 months ago when Josh Papalii angered him by reneging on a move to the Eels to stay with Canberra.

Raiders officials did not return calls.