Edwards to play; Cleary says COVID confusion hasn’t impacted side ahead of Grand Final

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary speaking ahead of the Grand Final. Photo: NRL Images.
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Penrith coach Ivan Cleary has confirmed fullback Dylan Edwards will play in tomorrow night’s Grand Final against Souths.

Edwards has been battling a foot injury for some weeks but Cleary confirmed this afternoon he’s good to go.

“Dylan’s fine, he’ll be right,” he said.

“He’s started the week in a moon boot and on crutches for the last three weeks. It’s just to take weight off the foot, that’s all that is.

“He was one of our best (last week) and he’s very important to our team.

“I just marvel at the resilience of these boys and the courage that they show each week. They just refuse not to play. They just keep turning up and doing their thing.”

Dylan Edwards is part of a strong looking Penrith backline. Photo: NRL Photos.

Ahead of the captain’s run this afternoon, Cleary confirmed he expects the side to be 1-17 but hinted it’s likely Viliame Kikau will again switch from the starting side to the bench.

With QLD only recording two COVID-19 cases overnight – both linked to existing cases – it appears the Grand Final will go ahead tomorrow night as planned.

Cleary said the doubts over the game going ahead hadn’t impacted the squad.

“I haven’t noticed anything from our boys. They’ve just been their usual selves,” he said.

“It’s just been that sort of season, or seasons.”

Jarome Luai and Nathan Cleary. Photo: NRL Images.

Cleary said there’s no doubt the pain of 2020 will be a driving factor in the decider.

“We went into that game having won 17 straight. It was pretty much plain sailing most of the time,” he said.

“The Storm got the jump on us early and we didn’t quite handle it to be honest.

“The end of that game was the start of our new season.”

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