New Huddersfield star Kenny Edwards has revealed he’s been an alcoholic since he was 12.
But the controversial New Zealander, now 30, insists he has beaten his demons.
Edwards – who has been sacked by three NRL clubs – gave up the booze nine months ago after finally realising that he was destroying his family’s life as well as his own.
He said: “I had to take a long hard look at myself. It was hard to break that chain at first but it has been the best decision of my life.
“I just wish I’d done it 10 years ago.
“I was an alcoholic and partying when I was 12 but the sad thing is it’s not uncommon in New Zealand.
“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.
“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.”
Edwards, who saw his mother commit suicide and suffered domestic violence at the hands of his dad, has been dogged by on and off field controversies.
He was sacked by Manly, St George Illawarra and Parramatta and at the Eels alone missed 35 games for off-field disciplinary problems.
They included receiving a six-month good behaviour bond in 2017 after pleading guilty in court to pouring a drink over his partner Madison, the mother of his two kids, while she was in bed.
And Eels sacked him halfway through 2018 after he fled police when he was pulled over while driving on a suspended licence.
Despite all that, Madison has stood by him and Edwards admits he owes her a massive debt for helping him turn his life around.
He said: “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 spent the last season and a half at Catalans Dragons but hopes the Giants will now see the best of a sober and fitter player.
Edwards is also now taking a coaching course as well as studying to be a youth worker so he can help troubled kids when he finally gives up playing.
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