Australia

The Panthers pact that helped Edwards play through pain of a broken foot

“You got 16 other blokes out there willing to put their body on the line, so you’ve just got to put your body on the line and try and get the job done. You’ve just got to give yourself to the team,” he said.

James Fisher-Harris had major knee issues leading up to the grand final.Credit:Getty

“You just look at the person next to you battling things you don’t know about or they’ve got injuries that you don’t know about, you’ve just got to do what you can do and do your best for the team.”

Along with Edward’s fractured foot, Cleary went through the finals with a torn shoulder tendon that will require surgery, while Fisher-Harris was suffering from a knee injury which would have normally sidelined him for several weeks.

Nathan Cleary, Brian To’o, James Fisher-Harris, Moses Leota and Edwards were all under an injury cloud throughout the finals series, but made a collective pact to put their bodies on the line to give their side the best chance at a premiership.

Nathan Cleary, Brian To’o, James Fisher-Harris, Moses Leota and Edwards were all under an injury cloud throughout the finals series, but made a collective pact to put their bodies on the line to give their side the best chance at a premiership.Credit:Getty

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Leota was dealing with a strained calf, while To’o was struggling with lingering syndesmosis issues, which saw him miss most of the Panthers’ training sessions for the last two weeks.

To’o said all five of them bought into the motto of all pushing through injury.

“The boys pushed for each other,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re body is broken or not you are still going to play for the boys and get us to where we need to be.”

The coach described playing all five injured players as a “calculated risk”.

“I don’t say that lightly. “I actually woke up at 2am this morning and I couldn’t get back to sleep because I was thinking ’my god, honestly three or four of them could be gone by 10 minutes [into the game],” he said.

“I just can’t rap the boys enough. The courage that these boys have shown, we really couldn’t train the last three weeks as a team, so many guys not training… I think it’s purely on courage that these boys have won this,” Cleary said.

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