Relief as Bulldogs player Ben Edwards is cleared of any breaks in his neck

CONCERN: Medical staff treat Ben Edwards at Kurri Kurri on Saturday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
CONCERN: Medical staff treat Ben Edwards at Kurri Kurri on Saturday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

The Kurri Kurri Bulldogs have received great news with winger Ben Edwards cleared of any breaks in his neck after he was injured in a tackle in Saturday’s spirited 20-12 win against Western Suburbs.

"Ben is all good. No breaks and on the road to recovery,” a relieved Bulldogs coach Ron Griffiths said on Sunday morning.

Bulldogs president Daryl Chapman said Edwards was still in a lot of pain but had been cleared of any breaks or fractures.

“He’ll have an MRI scan today to see exactly what damage there is, but he has feeling and is in the best hands to see him back on his feet soon,” Chapman said.

Kurri kept their Newcastle Rugby League finals hopes alive with the win over fierce rivals Western Suburbs but the triumph at Kurri Sportsground was overshadowed by neck injury to Edwards.

Play was held up for 30 minutes on Saturday while Edwards received treatment before he was taken to hospital by ambulance.

The winger laid prone on the ground after being caught in an awkward position in a tackle by Wests captain Mark Taufua in the 23rd minute.

Taufua was put on report for a crusher tackle.

“It is sad when anyone gets hurt on a rugby league field,” Kurri Kurri coach Ron Griffiths said after the game. “Our thoughts go out to him and his family.”

A  Newcastle Rugby League official told Fairfax Media that Edwards “had feeling” when the ambulance left the ground.

A spokesperson for the John Hunter Hospital said late Saturday night that Edwards was in a stable condition. Griffiths also later confirmed that Edwards had been “cleared of any breaks”.

Taufua was one of three players put on a report and three others were sent to the sinbin in a fiery contest.

“There was plenty of feeling in it, and there was when we played them in the first round,” Griffiths said. “They rode roughshod over us then, but today our forwards rose to the occasion.”

The score was locked at 6-all at the time of Edward’s injury. It stayed that way until the 38th minute when Wests fullback Willis Alatini swerved and swivelled past three defenders to make it 12-6 at the break.

Kurri equalised in the 62nd minute when fullback Kade Harding scored from a switch inside.

Six minutes later Jade Porter put halfback Jarom Haines through a hole. Harding added the extras and later landed a penalty to seal the win.

“It was a gutsy performance,” Griffiths said. “Wests are always the yardstick and to come away with a win was great. A simple game plan works for us. We were able to execute it in the second half. I thought the determination they showed was above what they had showed all year.”

The win in the catch-up game, moved sixth-placed Kurri to 12 points, two points  behind Wests and Souths with three rounds remaining.

This story Bulldogs’ win overshadowed by neck injury first appeared on The Maitland Mercury.