Kenny Edwards has been a revelation since moving to the Castleford Tigers ahead of the 2022 Super League season.
And, despite attracting interest from rival Super League and NRL sides, Edwards has signed a new three-year deal at the Jungle.
The New Zealander joined Cas for the 2022 season on loan from Huddersfield Giants and in his first year at Wheldon Road so far Edwards has become a firm fan favourite following several standout performances which have demonstrated his nimble footwork, tenacious running attitude, and skilful passing.
Edwards has proven to be an important part of the Tigers’ left edge in this campaign. So far in 2022, he has registered three tries, setting up a further seven scores in assists, with plenty more try involvements too.
After performing so strongly this year, Edwards was chosen for the Combined Nations All Stars’ starting squad for the second season in a row just last weekend against England.
Discussing the news with castlefordtigers.com, a delighted Edwards said: “I’ve said from day one, from the start of contract talks and I said to Radders (Lee Radford), I don’t want to leave here, things just had to get worked out and I am over the moon to be a Cas Tiger for the next three years!
“From day one I’ve loved it here, the coaching staff have got behind me, the fans here have really got behind me and I love running out at The Jungle every week we can. My family is happy here now in England, that was probably the main thing for me – wait until the sun comes out and ask them to stay!
“I’m over the moon to get it done and I’m looking forward to the back end of the year.”
The 32-year-old celebrated his 150th career match in May, which for a man of his age may be lower than expected, but Edwards feels he is getting better as he gets older, especially with the Tigers under Head Coach Lee Radford.
“I think this year has been a really good eye-opener for me, I’m getting a bit older but this year on the field is probably one of the best I’ve had. That was a good indication for me that there are still a lot of miles in my legs and a long way to go yet.
“I wear my heart on my sleeve, every day I come in and if I was down someone would know about it, but I wake up in the morning and can’t wait to come to work.
“I think our personalities go together, I’m a happy-go-lucky sort of bloke, and he (Radford) is too. We had that tough start and all I could hear was his big ugly laugh! So that sort of took the edge off, he is not the bloke that comes in and is jumping down your throat, so we have a good relationship, and we’ll continue to build on that.”
“I’ve loved it here, the coaching staff have got behind me, the fans here have really got behind me and I love running out at The Jungle…” – Kenny Edwards
In recent weeks the Castleford fans have declared their want to retain the services of Kenny Edwards and he’s been overjoyed with the support shown to him.
“I’d like to say thanks to the fans, they’ve been patient, the last couple of home games I’d walk around and they’re screaming at me ‘Get that deal signed!’. I love playing here, I love playing at The Jungle, we come out here at every home game and it’s packed out. At the back end of the year hopefully, we can get some wins for them.”
The Tigers boss Lee Radford commented on the news of Edwards’ extension and said: “He’s been really good for us Kenny since he’s come through the door, I’ve got a good relationship with him, and I actually tried signing him previously whilst at Hull.
“He sort of epitomises a lot of what we want to be about in how he approaches training and the games as well. He’s been really, really good with the young fellas, quick to jump into them but he is also quick to pull them and do extras with them after sessions, whether that be skill or video, whatever it may be. I think from a senior bloke that is fantastic. I’ve made no secret that we want to try and get our youth structure better, we’re doing that, and having senior blokes like Kenny can really help that.
“The age he’s at, he’s not played a lot of rugby for his age, it was only his 150th career game the other week. Although he is older, his actual footy age is much younger than that, I think.
“I think it’s a good fit, for what I look for in a player he brings a lot of those attributes, off the field he’s a champion bloke and been really good around the place, I think the boys have really taken to him as well.”