Breaking into the Penrith Panthers’ NRL back-line is no easy task given the amount of talent produced at or recruited to the foot of the mountains, but 21-year-old flyer Dylan Edwards is edging closer to that goal.
The Panthers’ back-line is one of the best in the NRL, at full-strength possessing as many as four internationals [Matt Moylan, Josh Mansour, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Dean Whare], plus the likes of Tyrone Peachey and Waqa Blake.
Edwards has lit up every competition he has taken part in; winning the 2015 National Youth Competition [NYC] Grand Final, securing a spot in the 2016 NYC team of the year, playing for the Junior Kangaroos and now dominating the Intrust Super Premiership NSW. He has two NRL appearances to his name, but knows what it takes to eventually earn regular a regular NRL spot for the Panthers.
“I’ve just got to try and perform in the NSW Cup [Intrust Super Premiership] every week and try and force myself into the side,” Edwards says to NSWRL.com.au.
“I have to put back to back performances together and try and work my way in, obviously there is a lot of talent up top.
“The goal is to play regular first grade footy.”
While it’s an obvious disadvantage to be stuck behind some of the best backs in the competition, Edwards considers it a learning opportunity.
At training, he is constantly surrounded by the likes of Matt Moylan and Josh Mansour, and he’s never afraid to seek advice from these proven internationals.
“[Moylan] is pretty open and you can ask him anything you want,” Edwards says.
“He’s pretty knowledgeable about the game, so I just hang around him and find a few tips and tricks to take out onto the paddock.”
For most players, a career highlight is making their NRL debut.
This is no different for Edwards, but he went try-less in a losing debut last year, while he scored a try in a big win over the Wests Tigers a couple of weeks ago in his second and most recent game.
“I was pumped to debut, I found out three days before the game, it’s obviously a dream come true for anybody playing Rugby League,” Edwards says.
“It was better [in my second game], good to get the win really, it felt way better than my first grade debut in terms of the result, but obviously it was great to get my debut.
Edwards has another chance to impress in the NRL when the Penrith Panthers take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Friday