Dubbo product Kaide Ellis labels Penrith Panthers a 'special club' after NRL debut

DUBBO DOUBLE: Kaide Ellis (right) is embraced by fellow Dubbo product Isaah Yeo after full time on Sunday. Ellis made his debut and helped the Panthers to an emphatic win. Photo: PENRITH PANTHERS
DUBBO DOUBLE: Kaide Ellis (right) is embraced by fellow Dubbo product Isaah Yeo after full time on Sunday. Ellis made his debut and helped the Panthers to an emphatic win. Photo: PENRITH PANTHERS

From the thrill of having his first grade jersey given to him by a fellow Dubbo junior, to having to wait close to an hour to run on, to then being sin-binned.

Kaide Ellis’ NRL debut was one wild ride.

The 21-year-old, a Group 11 under 18s premiership winner with Dubbo CYMS, made his first appearance in the top flight for Penrith in Sunday’s convincing win over the Gold Coast Titans.

He was made to sweat, starting on the bench and having to wait until the second half to get his first taste of the NRL.

His eight runs resulted in 54m, while he completed each of the eight tackles he went into.

But he was also sin-binned late on for repeated ruck infringements.

“Think I got hard done by there, I don’t even know what I did there but I got a rest,” he said of the sin-binning post-match.

“But I really enjoyed it and the hype and the adrenaline of it all got me through.

“I’m sure they get a lot harder and faster than that and hopefully I’ll play a few more games.”

The entire week was special for Ellis.

After spending much of 2017 training with the NRL squad and being 18th man for the Panthers on a number of occasions, the call-up was a reward for perseverance and consistent form in the lower grades after an extended period of time.

Isaah Yeo, another Dubbo product, presented Ellis with his jersey before the game while he was keen to congratulate and embrace the debutant at full-time at Panthers Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

“Penrith has been terrific to me and they’ve helped me out since the under 17 development days,” Ellis said.

“I’ve always wanted to debut for Penrith, especially because of ‘Yeoy’ and so many boys I played 20s and SG Ball with (are here) and it’s a special club and special moment.

“Last night (before the game) I was pretty relaxed, and this morning I was pretty relaxed but I got up and ran out and got a bit of a tingle and sitting on the bench for 40 minutes I was ready to go and they had to keep telling me to calm down.

“But I really enjoyed it.”

Ellis confessed he was a little worried it might take time to adjust to the speed of the NRL but the fact Penrith was dominating the clash made life easier.

The Panthers won the match 35-12 to move into second spot on the ladder.

Yeo, back in the centres on Sunday, sat up one of his side’s tries while he also ran for 132 metres and made 27 tackles.

The Penrith squad for next round’s clash with the Cronulla Sharks will be named on Tuesday afternoon.

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