McLean feels for Edwards, backs him for Origin comeback

Jasper Bruce |

Dylan Edwards (pictured) will have more chances at Origin level, says an emphatic Jordan McLean.
Dylan Edwards (pictured) will have more chances at Origin level, says an emphatic Jordan McLean.

If there’s one person in the world who knows how Dylan Edwards is feeling after injuring himself during NSW camp, it’s Jordan McLean.

But the North Queensland prop is confident Edwards will have another chance in the State of Origin arena after being cruelly denied his debut in Wednesday’s series opener.

Edwards strained his left quadriceps at Blues training on Saturday and was forced to withdraw from the side only days out from kick-off, an unfortunate situation that also befell McLean a little less than two years ago.

Like the Penrith fullback, McLean entered Blues camp as a mature-age debutant, finally ready to make his mark on the Origin stage after years waiting in the wings.

McLean was himself called in as Payne Haas’ injury replacement for game three of the 2022 series but went down with a hamstring injury during camp and had his Origin dream ripped away.

The 32-year-old could easily empathise with Edwards, who was replaced by previous NSW fullback James Tedesco on Sunday.

“It’d be terrible for him,” McLean told AAP.

“He’s obviously got that opportunity, he’s worked very hard for it.

“He would’ve been trying to put his best foot forward and trying to train the house down. Maybe he changed his training for the week and tried to go a bit too hard, I don’t know.

“As a New South Welshman as well, you never want that to happen to anyone.”

McLean went through a hellish few days after his own withdrawal, knowing full well that at 30, he was unlikely to have another chance under the bright Origin lights.

“I got down in the dumps for a couple of days,” he said.

“Then you weigh things up and put things into perspective. At the end of the day, it’s just a game of football. 

“The initial thoughts are that it’s the end of the world, the world’s burning and you get down in the dumps but I’m sure he’s got a lot of family around him. He’ll be right.”

The major difference in their situations, as McLean sees it, is that time is on the side of 28-year-old Edwards. 

He’s sure Edwards, a triple premiership-winner and Clive Churchill Medallist, will enjoy another chance to impress in the Origin arena.

“I knew where I stood, I got my opportunity from Payne getting injured and I knew that was probably the only opportunity I’d get, so I was real with it. What happened, happened,” McLean said.

“But I’m sure he’ll get another chance there again with the form and everything that he’s been playing with.

“He’ll get past it and I’m sure he’ll get back there for another chance.”