Family man Lee makes mark at Raiders
Raiders debutant Edrick Lee with his parents Samuel Lee and Connie Blankett at ANZ Stadium last Friday. Photo: Ben Pollack
Edrick Lee writes the words family and culture on his strapping before every game.
Based on his first showing in the NRL, the rampaging Canberra Raiders teenager will have plenty more chances in the big time to display his pride for both.
Lee made a sizeable impression in his first-grade debut last Friday, enough to suggest he could retain his place for this Saturday's match against the Wests Tigers at Canberra Stadium.
The 19-year-old played on the wing in the 36-18 loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs as a replacement for the suspended Blake Ferguson.
If, as expected, Ferguson returns from his ban for breaching the club's alcohol policy, Lee could be switched to his preferred position - in the centres.
It's there that he has torn opposition defences apart in the Toyota Cup, utilising his fend to great effect and earning a spot in the inaugural Queensland under-20s Origin side.
His Brisbane-based parents have been there every step of the way. Samuel Lee and Connie Blankett were in the crowd at ANZ Stadium last Friday as Lee held his own against the Rabbitohs.
''They were extremely proud of me to get the chance as a young, indigenous kid at the Canberra Raiders like Kenny Nagas,'' Lee said. ''On my strapping I always write family and culture.
''During the week I was buzzing, I thought I had a chance. Furnsey [Raiders coach David Furner] said I was close a few times.
''Soon as he announced it I was really happy for myself and my family.''
Lee, the cousin of Canberrs NBA player Patrick Mills, is already earning high praise for his football prowess.
''People say I'm like a young Greg Inglis going around with the fend,'' Lee said. ''I learnt how he plays and I learnt how to defend him as well.
''Through his younger days he had that lethal right-hand fend and sweet off the mark. That's all coming into my game, slowly.''
Ferguson and Josh Dugan are expected to be recalled after being dropped for alcohol infringements. Jack Wighton is expected to miss another week with a toe injury, while hooker Glen Buttriss (sternum) is an outside chance to return.