Edwards defies foot fracture for NRL title

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

A "couple of little fractures" weren't going to stop Dylan Edwards from playing in an NRL grand final, even if Penrith coach Ivan Cleary lost sleep worrying that it would.

As if it was no big deal, the Panthers fullback was nonchalant after Sunday's night's 14-12 premiership win over South Sydney when asked about playing the past month of the NRL season with a broken foot.

Edwards revealed that fractures developed before the first week of the finals due to ongoing stress, forcing him into a moon boot and crutches throughout the week.

It meant not training before any of the Panthers' finals games and suiting up through pain to get the job done.

"It's all right, it's just a couple of little fractures I suppose," Edwards said, revealing he he relied on painkillers to get through.

"You've just got to give yourself to the team.

"There's 16 other blokes out there willing to put their body on the line, so you've just got to put your body on the line and get the job done.

"You just look at the person next to you battling things ... or they've got injuries that you don't know about, you've just got to do what you can do."

Casual as he may be, Edwards' courage did not go without a healthy dose of awe from his coach, who revealed up to five players were playing injured in the decider.

It makes Penrith's third title their gutsiest.

Cleary said he'd endured a sleepless night on the eve of the grand final, fearing the repercussions of his club's mounting injury toll and the fact it could bring his team undone.

"There was at least five who shouldn't have been playing today," the Panthers coach said on Sunday night.

"It was a calculated risk on a lot of boys. I woke up at 2am (Sunday) and couldn't get back to sleep.

"Thinking three or four of them could have been gone by 10 minutes. They just refused not to play."

James Fisher-Harris battled a knee injury in grand final week and Moses Leota a calf strain, while Nathan Cleary's shoulder issues have been well documented before his Clive Churchill Medal win.

Brian To'o has fought lingering syndesmosis issues throughout the finals, before totalling 235 metres against Souths to continually start Penrith's sets in a powerful fashion.

But it was the attitude of Edwards that is likely to be most remembered as he churned through 217 metres on a broken foot and making a crucial last-ditch tackle on Cameron Murray late.

"He walked around on crutches every week and then goes out and plays, I don't understand how it happens but it sums up the bond," Ivan Cleary said.

"It just created that culture that no one wanted to be the one who put their hand up and say I don't want to play.

"It was incredible."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting