Edwards at home on wing for Panthers
After a less than ideal introduction to the Telstra Premiership in 2016, Panthers rookie Dylan Edwards tasted his first win in the top grade and is keen for more opportunities as the season progresses.
The 21-year-old enjoyed a day out against the Wests Tigers in just his second NRL appearance and Panthers coach Anthony Griffin couldn't have been more pleased for the Bellingen junior, who filled the vacant wing spot and replaced Peta Hiku with ease in Campbelltown on the weekend.
"I was really happy particularly for Dylan Edwards, he debuted last year when we were on the end of a bad loss to Cronulla at home and he hasn’t had another go since," Griffin said post-game.
"For him to come in and play the game that he did… I was happy for him."
Despite an error from the kick-restart midway through the second half, Edwards produced 20 carries for 187 metres and pulled off a try-saver in the second minute of the game as the Tigers looked to attack early.
"It was much better to get the win and there's no better feeling," Edwards told NRL.com.
"I was rapt and pretty pumped [about the try]… Peach (Tyrone Peachey) just made that break down the edge and looked inside for me.
"He (Peachey) provided some opportunities for me all day. My family was here so it was pretty special.
"There was just a huge focus on doing our job and being more physical and we did that by showing up and just our completions got us into the contest."
With the pending returns of injured outside backs Hiku (eye-socket), Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (knee) and Josh Mansour (knee) at the foot of the mountains, the Albury-born utility is happy to bide his time and take every opportunity as it comes.
"There are a couple of boys coming back with Dallin (Watene-Zelezniak) and Peta (Hiku) in the coming weeks, so I will just have to wait and see how it pans out," he said.
For centre-partner Peachey - who also ran for over 180 metres with four line breaks - he said the combination with Edwards was only new on paper, and felt comfortable straight away on the field after both players spent time together working on the left edge throughout pre-season.
"With Peta (Hiku) and Josh (Mansour) injured, he was on my wing so we trained a lot together and worked on a number of things to prepare for when he was needed," Peachey told NRL.com
"I knew when he got the opportunity he was going to do something special this week for us and he did.
"I thought our forwards dominated the Tigers and opened up a lot of space for us backs to work with.
"We just make sure we run the right lines and Moyza (Matt Moylan) puts us into the right hole."
While the Panthers struggled in opening round in a big loss to the Dragons, the 25-year-old was one of the Panthers' best, conjuring over 130 metres to sit at 11th in the player statistics after two rounds.
Peachey now also leads the competition with five line-breaks, with Eels winger Semi Radradra behind him on four to start the season.
"We came out with a point to prove after last week's game and we just didn’t want to let in any soft tries," he said.
"It was an embarrassment and it didn’t show how we trained in the pre-season at all, so it was nice to turn it around.
"I don’t want to get too comfortable and if I do stuff up then Hook (Griffin) lets me know.
"We have a good relationship and wherever he keeps me is where I'll play."