IT has taken him well over 12 months, but Doncaster Rugby League Club forward Grant Edwards is back playing again.
The former Sheffield Eagles’ favourite, who had impressed in the handful of games that he had played for the Dons, suffered a serious knee injury after falling awkwardly in the game at Rochdale after being hit by a high tackle.
“I needed a complete knee reconstruction,” recalled the 24 year-old this week.
“It has been frustrating over the last 12-14 months, but I was always determined to play again.
“The surgeon who operated on me at the Doncaster Royal Infirmary always said that I’d come back but that it would be a long road and not to try and rush it and not play until I got my confidence back.
“I was pleased that the club stood by me, and helped with my rehabilitation and left a place in this season’s squad for me.”
With the Championship One side not running a reserve team, Edwards had to make his long-awaited return at first-team level.
He could hardly have picked a tougher game in which to play his first game for over a year than last month’s Challenge Cup fourth round tie at home to Super League outfit Wakefield Trinity.
“It was certainly a baptism of fire,” said Edwards, who came off the bench to play 20 minutes. Psychologically, it wasn’t a problem; I was more worried by my fitness.”
Not only was Edwards pleased with his own contribution, but felt his team-mates also acquitted themselves well.
“I thought that we held them for an hour until their full-time fitness showed in the last 20 minutes,” he said.
“Since that game, I’ve played for 30 minutes and then 40 minutes against Oldham last weekend.
“I’ve continued to work hard on my fitness and I think I’m at a point where I can now play the majority of a match; it is just a case of coach Tony Miller having the confidence to put me in from the start.”
Edwards, who has turned out at stand-off, hooker and second-row as well as his favoured loose-forward spot, is keen to make up for lost time in the second half of the season and says that there is every reason for the Dons to be optimistic about their promotion prospects.
“We have played very well in our last two games - the 30-0 win over Oldham on Sunday was the best we’ve played this season,” he said.
“It was the first time that we’ve played for the full 80 minutes this season and if we play like that we can beat anyone in this division.“