Six years ago, a fresh-faced Dylan Edwards, at the age of just 20, ran out of the tunnel and onto the field under the bright lights of Panthers Stadium to make his NRL debut against the Cronulla Sharks.
Now, the kid from Dorrigo is a household name, who is known as the quiet achiever who played 80 minutes of the 2021 NRL Grand Final with a broken foot and still managed to notch up 230 run metres to help his side claim the club's third premiership.
Known around the playing group as someone who leads by example, Edwards first joined the Panthers in 2013 as a member of the SG Ball Cup side and has since progressed through the Panthers pathways system. This Saturday night in Canberra, the fullback will play his 100th NRL game against the Raiders – an achievement you’ll never catch him gloating about.
Fijian second-rower Viliame Kikau says he’s “pretty blessed” to have played the majority of his career alongside Edwards, especially throughout the Origin period when the milestone man stepped up to captain the team alongside James Fisher-Harris.
Koroisau and Kikau praise milestone man Edwards
“His work ethic is unreal, he racks up these crazy metres every single game,” Kikau said.
“I’m happy for him, 100 games not only in the NRL but for one club. I think that’s massive. I really can’t wait to get out there with him this weekend.”
Panthers hooker Apisai Koroisau recognises Edwards’ perseverance on and off field, explaining that the 26-year-old always has more energy left in the tank.
“You know when everyone’s tired, it’s been a long cycle, and he just keeps turning up. He’s there to take the ball, he’s there to make another carry when he’s already had 20, he’s just one of those guys you love to play with,” Koroisau said.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone train as hard as he does. He’s just constantly pushing himself and I think it’s really shown in his footy over the last couple of years. It’s been an honour to play beside him.”
A role model for many young Panthers progressing through the pathways system, Edwards currently sits first on the NRL statistics leader board for most runs and kick return metres for the 2022 season. Koroisau and Moses Leota praise his efforts, saying that he helps drive the team with his actions.
“You just know what you’re going to get with Dylan, he’s really safe at the back and he directs us around the field,” Leota said.
“He has eyes on everything. He can see perfectly from the back, and he has a really good understanding of footy as well,” Koroisau highlighted.nrl
“He’s a good communicator when it comes to telling the boys what he needs, and he likes spraying people, sometimes he does it for fun, but it really helps the team out when they need it, and it definitely makes us feel a lot better when he’s there talking to us as well.”
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