Dubbo’s Kaide Ellis will be in action on NRL grand final day following his Penrith Panthers side winning Friday afternoon’s semi-final against the North Queensland Cowboys.
The National Youth Competition (NYC) minor premiership winners started the match as favourites, especially after Cowboys teen sensation and fullback Kalyn Ponga was called up to play the NRL match on Friday night.
The Panthers, also featuring Coonamble Bears junior Braidon Burns, shot out to an early lead and never looked back, going on to win 32-16 at Allianz Stadium.
Workhorse Ellis again featured in the second row and was part of a Panthers forward pack which got over the advantage line time and time again, allowing star fullback Dylan Edwards to capitalise.
Captain and prop Oliver Clark opened the scoring in the sixth minute and Edwards added the extras to make it 6-0.
Edwards then made an 80m break to set up a try for Cowen Epere and then the star fullback grabbed a deserved try to make it 18-0.
The Panthers scored again and went into half time leading 22-10 but the Cobwoys started a mini-fightback in the second stanza following Burns’ sin-binning for a professional foul.
At 22-16 the game was in the balance and Ellis had a disappointing moment when he lost possession with the line at his mercy.
But the Panthers then withstood the Cowboys attack and tries to Daniel Brown and Tyrone May late on sealed the win and passage through to the grand final.