Ciraldo questions off the mark: Penrith's Dylan Edwards


Penrith star Dylan Edwards has launched an impassioned defence of his former mentor Cameron Ciraldo, adamant the under-pressure Canterbury coach's character cannot be called into question.

Ciraldo's Bulldogs training regime continues to be the talk of the NRL, amid claims he has been too intense in his bid to turn around the struggling club.

At the centre of the issue remains a punishment dished out to a player at training last month, in which he was made to wrestle several teammates after being late. 

The player, who has not been named, has since taken leave from the club.

Other players have reportedly taken issue with the length of the working day and training loads at Belmore.

Ciraldo on Wednesday defended the club's training methods, pointing out back-to-back premiers Penrith had trained longer days throughout his time there.

Edwards is among the players brought through the grades by Ciraldo at the Panthers, winning an under-20s title under the coach as well as two NRL premierships while Ciraldo was an assistant.

"If his character is being called into question that definitely surprises me," Edwards said. 

"He's a great coach. Great person, really cares about your family and cares about you as a person too.

"He was the best coach for me while he was (at Penrith). I can't speak highly enough of him. I wouldn't be where I am today without Ciro."

Edwards said the intense nature of training at Penrith was part of what had made the club successful.

"The NRL is hard. You have to train hard and prepare hard to give yourself the best opportunity to be successful," Edwards said.

"Training is hard. It's supposed to be hard.

"Some days might be a bit longer than others but you've just got to do what you've got to do to be successful."

Several clubs spoken to by AAP have confirmed 'punishments' are part of their training regime, ranging from fines to physical challenges and fashion directives.

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson insisted on Thursday they were required for maintaining club standards and that players knew where they stood.

"It's uncomfortable. You know, sometimes those conversations or the actions that you have to impart on people," Robinson said.

"But it's not that hard to be really clear on standards and then adhere to them. If you're not doing that, then there is often punishment.

"We have fines and there's lots of things in life where punishment comes out if you don't adhere to that. It's no different in a footy club. But it has to be elevating as well.

"People like punishment to be honest. Players when they don't do the right thing and they get punished - in some ways, they enjoy that.

"But that punishment needs to be elevating in nature. It needs to be something that they learn a lesson but can also grow from."