PARRAMATTA Eels enforcer Kenny Edwards has started speaking again to the abusive father he has “hated all my life” but says he will never forget the torment he was subjected to growing up in New Zealand.
Writing for Exclusive Insight Edwards admits his bad boy image is one that is well earned but insists the inspiration provided by his two children will enable him to finally change his ways.
The 28-year-old pleaded guilty to common assault in February after an incident involving his former partner Madison Campbell and came in for widespread criticism on the field for a late hit on prone Broncos winger Jonus Pearson in Round 21.
His volatile and unpredictable nature makes him a lightning rod for detractors who highlight his apparent lack of discipline but Edwards says missing World Cup selection for New Zealand and the influence of his children will see him bring to an end the grubby acts that have been the calling cards of his career to date.
He has also gone some way to moving past the horrors of his childhood that he has carried throughout his career.
“My dad was abusive towards my mum all the time — I hated him all my life, and blamed him for a lot of things that happened in my life,” Edwards said.
“I have only recently begun talking to him — but our relationship will never be the same. I have forgiven him, but he knows he can’t change what he has done in the past.
“I remember there were times as a kid, we would go weeks on end with nothing in the kitchen pantry.
“I would steal food from school for my little brother and I, just so we didn’t go to bed feeling hungry.”
Aware of his reputation in the public eye, Edwards is determined to leave his troubled past behind so he can be a positive influence on his two children who he only gets to see every second weekend after his relationship with their mother broke down.
“My daughter is six and she can read now — if she walks past a shop and sees her father on the back of the newspaper for some negative stuff, I know it’d break her heart. So I’ve got to clean up my act,” Edwards conceded.
“It’s hard with myself and their mother breaking up, but I never wanted to be someone that was away from their kids because my own father did that to me at an early age and I hated it.
“I’m certain that my discipline was a key factor as to why I was not considered for New Zealand for this year’s Rugby League World Cup team — that was a massive wake-up call.
“A few years ago, the omission wouldn’t have even troubled me.
“But I’m grown, and want so much for myself now.”