3 Mar 2017

NZ born Eels player suspended for violence

4:40 pm on 3 March 2017

Parramatta forward New Zealander Kenny Edwards has been suspended for the first seven games of the NRL season after pleading guilty to domestic violence-related assault charges.

New Zealand born Parramatta Eels back rower Kenny Edwards.

New Zealand born Parramatta Eels back rower Kenny Edwards. Photo: www.parraeels.com.au

The Eels, in consultation with the NRL, also slapped him with a hefty $60,000 fine after he admitted to spraying his ex-partner with water and pouring alcohol over her last December.

The 27-year-old back-rower will still be able to train with the team, but will be unable to play NRL or reserve grade until the Eels' round-eight home clash with Penrith in April.

Edwards' suspension marks his second in the past three years at the club for off-field incidents, after he missed the entire 2015 season for taking a drug test for team-mate Kaysa Pritchard.

At the time, he was warned by the NRL that any further problems could see him de-registered, however his future was spared on Friday.

"Any reasonable analysis requires recognition of the fact that Kenny has prior incidents in his rugby league career," Parramatta chief executive Bernie Gurr said.

"This history has been continually emphasised in discussions with the NRL.

"It is also fair and balanced to point out that Kenny is a respected member of our playing squad and regularly contributes to the community activities of our club."

Edwards' suspension is a huge blow to the Eels, given the impact he had on return to playing last year.

In an otherwise tumultuous season for Parramatta, Edwards played every game and broke through 72 tackles as his powerful running style often tested the opposition's defence.

"Our club has been weakened by not having Kenny available to play," Gurr said.

Edwards' form earned him a new deal last August through to the end of 2019, however he will now have his fine deducted from that over the next two years.

"This fine will be deducted from Kenny's NRL playing contract over the 2017 & 2018 seasons so as to ensure Kenny and his family have sufficient support," Gurr said.

"Our club has, through our club's welfare staff, supported both Kenny's ex- partner and Kenny by arranging counselling and providing general support.

"As noted by the court, Kenny has and continues to provide significant financial support for his entire family."

Edwards must also engage in NRL-supported counselling as a result of the matter, after he pled guilty to common assault in Parramatta Local Court on Monday in relation to the charges.

He was handed a six-month good behaviour bond, but no conviction, for the incident.