Former New Zealand NRL player and current Super League player Kenny Edwards has admitted he was an alcoholic at 12, which he says is “not uncommon in New Zealand”.
The 30-year-old, who has been sober for nine months, opened up about his virtually life-long battle with alcoholism in an interview with the Daily Mirror.
Edwards, who moved to Huddersfield this year after a stint with French side Catalans, was sacked by three NRL clubs for off-field issues.
“I just wish I’d done it 10 years ago," he said. "I was an alcoholic and partying when I was 12 but the sad thing is it’s not uncommon in New Zealand.”
Edwards said he saw his mother commit suicide and was the victim of domestic violence during his childhood.
“Drugs, alcohol and abuse is very much in the New Zealand culture. I come from a broken home and didn’t have a father figure but I’m not using that as an excuse,” he said.
Edwards was sacked by three clubs including Parramatta, the club he represented 70 times.
“I never played drunk or with a hangover in the NRL because it’s too demanding physically and mentally, but if we played on a Thursday night I’d then drink until we trained again on the Monday.
“I don’t remember not being drunk on a weekend since I was 12.”
In 2017, he received a six-month good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to pouring a drink over his partner Madison, the mother of his two children, while she was in bed.
He was sacked by the Eels in 2018 after running from police while driving on a suspended licence but Madison has stood by him despite his repeated transgressions.
“We were high school sweethearts and she’s been a rock and a real pillar for me. We’ve been through a lot as a family but we’ve both come out the other side,” he said.
Edwards is studying to be a youth worker so he can help troubled kids at the end of his career.