Edwards stays in camp to help Blues prepare for Origin

Scott Bailey |

Dylan Edwards has stayed in the NSW Origin camp to help finalise preparations for game one.
Dylan Edwards has stayed in the NSW Origin camp to help finalise preparations for game one.

Dylan Edwards has returned to NSW training in a behind-the-scenes role as the luckless Penrith fullback comes to terms with missing out on a dream debut.

Ruled out of State of Origin I due to a minor quad strain on Sunday, Edwards is unlikely to suit up for Penrith next weekend against Manly.

There is some chance he could return against Newcastle in round 15, on the same afternoon Michael Maguire will name his Blues team for Origin II.

But Edwards has made clear his more immediate priority is NSW’s hopes on Wednesday night.

The 28-year-old remained in Blues camp on Monday, assisting in meetings and preparations as James Tedesco prepares to wear the No.1 jersey at Accor Stadium.

Blues teammates have backed Tedesco to be able to easily slot into the backline because of his experience, but feel for Edwards given he was within touching distance of an Origin debut.

“It shows the character he is, he could’ve gone home and hid away in his room and tucked himself away because of the disappointment,” Blues forward Isaah Yeo said.

“It would’ve been easy, but he still fronted the group. He’s helping in meetings and doing what he can for the team.

“I think that’s the environment we’re building in this team. 

“I’m obviously gutted for him, particularly the timing, but that’s the roller-coaster we’re on.”

Yeo said he had immediately feared for Edwards’ fitness once he flagged the quad injury, knowing the toughness of his Panthers teammate.

He also predicted the fullback may have been more emotional than he initially let on in front of the group.

“I didn’t see any (tears), but it might’ve been different with his partner or his kids,” Yeo said. 

“When you get to this level, you get that name on your back, he’s a father, that’s pretty special. 

“I’d only be guessing, but might’ve been a few (tears) in front of the family.”

NSW had their last major training session on Monday, with an opposed session against Canterbury’s Jersey Flegg side.

Nicho Hynes moved freely as he showed every sign of overcoming a calf injury, and was able to kick in general play as well as in goal-kicking practice.

Cameron McInnes also spent time at dummy-half, while Hudson Young has spent part of the past week training at centre in case of injuries.

Yeo also insisted he would come off the bench after being named at No.14, adamant there were no mind games and that he would not start at lock.

“Come Wednesday night I’ll still be on the bench, I promise,” he said.

“It’s similar to game three last year and I came off the bench when I first came into Origin too. 

“I’ll still go into the middle and still do my role in there. Obviously we’ve got plans in case edges or centres go down, but my main focus is in the middle. 

“In terms of front row, lock, it’s no different, I play a similar style.”  

AAP