Edwards may tone down post-try hugs
Rugged Eels forward Kenny Edwards has laughed off his new habit of reeling in opposition players for post-try group hugs after Parramatta tries but hasn't ruled out continuing the tradition.
Edwards' cheeky post-try hugs have been a hit with fans of not just the Eels but rugby league in general with Cowboys legend Johnathan Thurston in Round 2 and former Eel Will Hopoate in Round 3 being irritated by the tactic during Parramatta's back-to-back wins.
Edwards admitted to being a bit sheepish about niggling someone of Thurston's standing in the game but laughed off his celebration with close mate and 2015 teammate Hopoate.
He admitted it had been a conscious tactic to annoy opponents when asked by NRL.com.
"It was a conscious thing but I think I'll keep that to a minimum, it's sort of been blown out of proportion the last few days," Edwards laughed.
"That first week I just saw 'JT' there and he was close to us so I sort of dragged him in.
"But 'Hop' on the weekend, he's one of my good mates so I was just sort of getting cheeky with him, lucky he didn't turn around and punch me! But I'll keep that to a minimum I think. I won't be doing that to any big forwards, I'll keep it to halfbacks and wingers I think!"
On a more serious note, the 26-year-old is preparing for just his 23rd top grade game after sitting out all last year due to injury and suspension and despite his powerful form over the opening three rounds wasn't getting carried away with his own efforts so far this season either.
"I was all right... I'm lucky I'm behind a good forward pack and a couple of good halves, I'm just playing off the back of that. They make my job easy," Edwards said.
"I'm not thinking too far ahead, I just take it week by week, go out there and give my best every week – it's probably something we've struggled with in the last few years is consistency and we're just looking to turn up every week."
The new-look Eels have got better every week as the season has progressed – despite missing stars Nathan Peats and Manu Ma'u last week – and it's been on the back of rock-solid defence.
Parramatta have missed 19.7 tackles per game over the opening three rounds behind only ladder leaders Melbourne (19.3 per game) and Edwards said they could continue to base wins off their defence until the attacking structures click into gear.
"We knew especially after our last trial game against Penrith, we got one training session together and we knew it would take a while for us to gel," he said.
"We're a new bunch, a new group of players with all different skill sets and we knew it would take a while to gel. We've still got a long way to go but if the first few weeks is anything to go by hopefully we can just keep working hard in defence and the rest will take care of itself."