When Dylan Edwards last faced Melbourne it was regarded by many as the worst performance of his career. Racking up six costly errors, the Panthers were obliterated in what was a shocking night in Bathurst.
15 months on and the 24-year-old was finally able to right the wrongs from last year with a brilliant performance over the Storm in Campbelltown last Friday night.
Not only did the energetic fullback help guide Penrith to a rare 21-14 win over Craig Bellamy’s men, but he did so in his very first game of the season.
Edwards wasn’t just coming back from one significant injury suffered at training but two.
In February, he tore his syndesmosis in his right ankle, while last month he picked up a hamstring complaint.
Edwards said he was apprehensive making his long-awaited comeback – especially against the Storm.
“It felt really good being back, I missed playing footy so it was nice to get back out there and have a run around,” he said.
“I was nervous to play, I knew it had been a while since my last game. I didn’t know how I was going to fit in because of the increased ruck speed. I assumed there would be a little bit of rust, but hopefully I’m better for the run.”
The Bellingen Dorrigo junior broke five tackles and had one try assist in the win.
Edwards will be hoping to back up his successful comeback game with another strong performance when the Panthers tackle South Sydney this week.
Wayne Bennett’s side is humming along quite nicely, winning their last two matches against the New Zealand Warriors and Gold Coast Titans.
Edwards said he’s been impressed by the Rabbitohs of late despite all their victories this season coming against sides currently out of the top eight.
“They are going along well, Souths. Latrell Mitchell’s playing really well at the back there,” he said.
“They’ve got a really good side and have quality across the park.
“They have a really quality backline and some really good middle forwards. I’m looking forward to a really big contest.”
Penrith will be aiming for back to back wins for just the second time this year. Edwards said it’s important his side are consistent if they’re ever going to be taken seriously as title contenders.
“We just want to back up our performances, we don’t want to be a team that fades out one week and goes well another,” he said.
“We want to be a consistent team throughout the competition.”
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.