Dylan Edwards in startling NRL development for Panthers after State of Origin dream ruined

The fullback was ruled out of the Origin opener - but appears an outside chance to play for Penrith on Sunday.

Dylan Edwards has been named in the extended squad for the Panthers this weekend and appears an outside chance to be fit to take on Manly on Sunday. The fullback was ruled out of State of Origin I on Wednesday night with a quad injury, and reports have emerged that he might be sidelined for three weeks.

But the Panthers dropped somewhat of a bombshell on Tuesday afternoon when they named Edwards in a 24-man squad to take on the Sea Eagles. Edwards was named in jersey 23 in a startling move that left fans confused considering his withdrawal from the NSW team.

Dylan Edwards in NSW camp and in action for the Panthers.
Dylan Edwards has been named in the Panthers squad to take on Manly this weekend. Image: Getty

Michael Maguire and the Blues medical staff deemed it too risky to play Edwards on Wednesday night, ruining his dream of playing State of Origin. Maguire revealed it's a "one to two-week injury", but the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Tuesday that Edwards might be out for three weeks.

So it was certainly a huge surprise to see Edwards named in the Panthers squad on Tuesday. Whether he plays remains to be seen, but there must be a slight chance of him being ready to take on Manly if he was named among the reserves.

Dylan Edwards.
Dylan Edwards looks on during a NSW training session ahead of State of Origin I.

Tellingly, NSW doctor Nathan Gibbs told the SMH that the full recovery time for a quad strain is 2-3 weeks, and "it’s an injury you can’t play well with four days later." Gibbs added: “He strained the lower part of his quad muscle, just where all the muscles merge into the quadriceps tendon, and the MRI showed the muscles weren’t damaged but there was a strain. Sometimes you can play inside that time (2-3 weeks), but the risk of re-injuring and making it a higher grade tear increases."

The Panthers' clash with Manly will come eight days after Edwards suffered the injury last Saturday. “It’s possible, but it would be high risk," Gibbs said. "Sunday week [against the Knights] is more likely, but again there is still that risk [of re-injury]. Ideally, he would be ready to play the next Origin game, which would be three-and-a-half weeks.”

Edwards' withdrawal has handed James Tedesco a huge opportunity to make the NSW fullback role his own again. Tedesco was initially dumped by Maguire when he named a new-look Blues team, with Edwards handed the No.1 jersey.


But if Tedesco has a good game and the Blues win Game I on Wednesday night, it will be hard for Edwards to force his way back in. Discussing the situation on Tuesday, NSW co-captain and Panthers teammate Isaah Yeo said Edwards could've easily remained quiet and not said anything about his sore quad.

But he did the selfless thing and informed Blues officials. “It’s been a long time coming for him and he finally gets his opportunity and then - even the way he did it doing some extras - trying to do the right thing at the end of training,” Yeo said. “He’s just doing the right thing. You don’t want to (play) and five, 10 minutes in (they) have to pull you off.” I think he did the right thing."