Edrick Lee: “I’m Still Learning The Game”

Canberra - Edrick LeeBy STEVE MASCORD
HE scored two tries but blames himself for Saturday’s loss to Manly; towering Canberra winger Edrick Lee says he’s still learning the game of rugby league.
Lee’s towering presence posted tries in the 11th and 21st minutes at Brookvale Oval but it was a second half fumble as he attempted to play the ball that had the 20-year-old kicking himself.
“It’s my second year in first grade and I’m still learning the game,” the cousin of NBA star Patrick Mills tells League Week.
“Unfortunately, that error led to a try but one thing I have to do now is move on and enjoy the bye.
“There’s a lot of pressure to perform, a lot of competition, and if you don’t perform, you don’t get picked the next week.”
But 196cm Lee is increasingly becoming a hazard for defending teams as he chases the kicks of Josh McCrone, Terry Campese and Anthony Milford.
“When the kick goes up, it’s down to your anticipation,” Lee said. “Hopefully it leads to a try and I came up with a couple (against Manly).”

Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK

Under 20s International: JUNIOR KANGAROOS 48 JUNIOR KIWIS 16 at Dairy Farmers Stadium

By STEVE MASCORD
THE fireworks came before and after last night as the Junior Kangaroos blitzed their New Zealand opponents, with Canberra’s Edrick Lee and Jack Wighton each posting try doubles.
The Australian under 20s tempted fate by advancing on the haka before kick-off, with players ending up nose-to-nose and jostling before team-mates separated them. Advancing on the haka is considered disrespectful but the Kiwis failed to gain any lasting motivation out of it.
The Junior Kiwis scored first through Warriors star Carlos Tuimavave but after that it was all green-and-gold, with Kelly Egan’s side leading 30-8 at halftime.
The avalanche of points continued in the second session but the final try touchdown – by Australia centre Tautau Moga – was followed by a renewal of hostilities.
NZ second rower Jason Taumalolo and Australia’s Kane Evans were involved in a shoving match that quickly escalated, with Taumalolo throwing the first punch and Evans returning service before players rushed in. Referee Gavin Reynolds quickly restored order and the other Australian prop, David Klemmer, failed in half-hearted conversion attempt to finalise the score.
It was a dramatic fall from grace for the Junior Kiwis, who won the corresponding game last year at Hunter Stadium.
Aside from a bit of biff, the game was also sandwiched by touchdowns from Lee, the cousin of NBA basketballer Patrick Mills.
He scored in the 12th minute off clubmate Wighton’s pass and again in the 60th with victory assured. While halfback Jacob Miller was able to kick his first six conversions, New Zealand’s Ngataua Manumalealii was unable to add the extras to any one of his side’s four tries.
Wighton’s tries came in the 37th and 54th minutes, both from close range.
Lachlan Maranta was a late withdrawal from the Junior Kangaroos line-up with a hamstring injury.
JUNIOR KANGAROOS 48 (E Lee 2 J Wighton 2 J Stockwell D Klemmer C Blair T Moga M Fonua tries J Miller 6 goals) bt JUNIOR KIWIS 16 (N Hukatai 2 C Tuimavave D Fusita tries) at Dairy Farmers Stadium. Referee: G Reynolds.
Filed for: SUN-HERALD

THE WRAP: NRL 2012 Round 18

By STEVE MASCORD

TRY hat-tricks are supposed to be joyous occasions – but for all three NRL stars who scored them at the weekend, there was little to cheer about.

Contrary to what most people thought at first, the efforts of Edrick Lee (three tries), Konrad Hurrell (three) and David Williams (four) was nothing unusual in a weekend of football.

In fact, it has already happened this year, in round nine.

But what was unusual was the reactions of the three players afterwards. All three of their teams won yet it seemed the figurative hat in which the trick has been scored was being stomped on by the magician as soon as the show was over.

Canberra winger Edrick Lee, a star of the 40-12 win over Melbourne at AAMI Park on Saturday, is still grieving after the loss of a family member (whose name he has asked is withheld) three weeks ago.

He told the Canberra Times over the weekend: ”It was pretty hard leading up to the game [against the Cowboys], but as the game went on I tried not to think about it,” Lee said.

”Family are really close to you and they’re the ones that give you inspiration and drive to go forward.

”To lose them is really tough.”

Later that night Warrior Konrad Hurrell also posted three – before coming off with an ankle injury, which has him in danger of missing Friday’s appointment with Brisbane, in the 55th minute.

More testing times were to follow in the sheds when team-mates Lewis Brown, Feleti Mateo and Sione Lousi joined a circle of pressmen and started hurling questions at the quietly spoken 20-year-old.

“I just put the ball down, it’s the hard work of the 12 other boys,” Hurrell began, in regulation fashion.

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Raiders Booze Ban Is Over

By STEVE MASCORD

CANBERRA’s infamous booze ban is over and its demise seems to have played at least some role in one of the most dramatic form reversals of the entire season.

The Green Machine – who last month suspended Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson for breaking the embargo on all alcohol – turned a 40-0 home defeat to Wests Tigers into a 32-16 away success against Newcastle in the space of just seven days.

Officially, a camp just outside Newcastle in the lead-up to the game was credited with giving the boys some renewed solidarity.

But when asked where the club could go from here, halfback Josh McCrone let slip: “Probably a couple of drinks tonight.”

Asked to explain how that would be allowed, he said: “Some boys made some mistakes. We’re over the mistakes.

“It sold some papers, that’s about it. It went for four weeks, it lasted until then. Everyone held out for that period. We had the four weeks off.

“It wasn’t a massive thing. We knew where we wanted to be. We had some time off it. We’re not against blokes drinking – it’s just the time and place to do it.

“We’ve learned out lesion.

“We’ve been spending some time together. That week away, we learned a lot about each other.

Fullback-come-five-eighth Josh Dugan said there were no magic fixes to last week’s camp. “We bonded as a team, got back to basics and enjoyed each others’ company,” he said.

“That showed – everyone was working for each other and had that trust. Defending the way we did for the whole 80, it’s a credit to us.

“Some weeks you can be complacent and the next week you play blinders. One week you can get beaten by 40, the next week you win.

“We haven’t written out season off yet.”

Saturday night’s captain Tom Learoyd-Lahrs said the players don’t see each other often away from training because of family commitments and the camp was a good opportunity to correct that.

Promising youngster Edrick Lee scored his first two tries in first grade to bounce back from the previous week’s disappointment

“Mentally, it got me,” he admitted. “To be up in first grade and lose by that many points – we worked on turning it around.

McCrone was chastising himself for allowing Willie Mason to run over the top of him for a try. “I’ve got to learn to tackle,” he said.

“That’s pretty easily solved. It’s a one-on-one tackle miss. We’ll be right. They got two tries from one-on-one missed tackles. We’ll fixed that up.”

Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK

The WRAP: NRL Round 14 2012

By STEVE MASCORD

CLEARLY, one man’s holiday camp is another’s prison.

As we hunker down for Origin II, we are coming off a weekend on which one team credited a week away together for form-defying victory while another thanked going home at the earliest possible convenience for a success of similar magnitude.

Knocked from pillar to post after losing 40-0 at home to Wests Tigers two Saturdays ago, the Canberra Raiders upped sticks and headed for the Hunter Valley to escape the accusing stares and screaming headlines of the national capital.

The result was one of the game’s biggest turnarounds – a 32-16 success against troubled Newcastle at Hunter Stadium, in which wunderkindEdrick Lee scoring twice to erase the memory of a shocking sophomore appearance seven days before.

“It’s our preparation,” said Lee, the cousin of NBA basketballer Patrick Mills. “It’s all changed this week – we have a different culture for the club. It’s all paid off and we will back it up, hopefully.

“We worked hard to turn it around. It was great to see the boys this week so tight together. “

With family commitments keeping them apart after hours, the Raiders say they needed time to reacquaint with each other.

“The cliché says a week’s a long time in rugby league and this time last week there were a lot of dejected blokes standing around,” said Saturday night’s captain, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs.

“We had a ball (last week) …. just a chance to rub shoulders with the boys. I suppose when you’re in your home environment and everyone’s got their family commitments and all the rest of it …

“Just to get away and put those things behind us for a week was great for team spirit.”

But this morning the Warriors were at Kingsford Smith airport bright and early to head back to New Zealand following their rain-swept 30-16 Monday Night Footbasll win over Penrith at Centrebet Stadium.

That is, even though they are playing Cronulla at Toyota Stadium this coming Saturday.

The common threat in both these approaches is the Raiders.

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