Edwards vows to cut out brain snaps
Talented Parramatta back-rower Kenny Edwards is capable of impressive feats on the footy field but is acutely aware that a recent spate of brain snaps has overshadowed some otherwise strong contributions – and has vowed to Eels fans to tighten up his game.
Take the Bulldogs game in Round 17 as an example.
In many ways, Edwards starred for his team on the night. An astute tap-back from a broken play pass near the Eels' line saved an almost certain try in the eighth minute. Edwards played all 82 minutes of the tense 13-12 golden point win with a team-high 46 tackles as well as four tackle busts, three offloads and 94 run metres.
But what fans will mostly remember is a crazy attempted intercept in the 48th minute.
With the Eels having soaked up back-to-back sets at their line and forcing a Dogs team who never looked like scoring to attempt to conjure up something on the final play, Edwards shot out of the line, fluffed the intercept, handed the Dogs another full set, and backed that up with a cold drop five minutes later.
While the Eels hung on then they were gassed by the extra goal-line defence and eventually their tired line was breached by Matt Frawley in the 69th minute with a soft try that sent the game to golden point. They hung on for the win on the back of a Mitch Moses field goal but had they lost, plenty of fans would have pointed a finger at Edwards' pair of mis-plays midway through the second half that handed over momentum.
Speaking to NRL.com this week, the affable Edwards admitted he was disappointed that some poor decisions were overshadowing the hard work he was putting in for his team.
"It's just little brain snaps, one or two at important times of the game that's killing me at the moment," Edwards said.
"This week I'll just try and put my head down and run hard."
The return of Manu Ma'u from injury will allow Edwards to return to the bench – a role he says he is more than happy with as it allows him to inject some energy against tiring defences 25 minutes into a game.
"The last four or five weeks I've played 80 minutes and made 46 and 49 tackles; last year I wouldn't make that in three games," he said.
"That workload, I'm coping with it but mistakes in important times in the game is really letting me down at the moment.
"I've just got to get back to what worked for me last year, running hard and trying to break some tackles and obviously turn up in defence and not overplay my hand. I think that's what I've done the last couple of weeks is try and overplay my hand at crucial moments in games and I'm letting myself down."
It is something that his coach Brad Arthur has addressed with the 27-year-old.
"I'll be good for 20 minutes then do something that takes away from that, something that takes away from the 49 tackles," Edwards said.
"When we played the Dogs the other week, I shot out of the line and went for an intercept and that's all people remember. They don't see the 49 tackles you make. It's something I've addressed and I'll go back to doing what worked for me last year."