Kelly strikes gold on Eels debut

Kelly strikes gold on Eels debut
By Eurosport

24/06/2012 at 21:11Updated 24/06/2012 at 21:12

Luke Kelly never really wanted to leave Melbourne - but knew he'd probably have to if he wanted to progress his NRL career.

Kelly made a perfect start to life as an Eel on Saturday night, helping Parramatta to a 19-18 golden point win over Penrith sealed by halves partner Chris Sandow's extra time field goal.

Parramatta coach Stephen Kearney and skipper Nathan Hindmarsh credited Kelly's talk on the field as pivotal to the Eels revival - the 21-year-old admitting five years in the Storm system had prepared him well for the NRL.

"Being down there so long, if you didn't pick things up from guys like Coops (Cooper Cronk), Cameron Smith and Billy (Slater), you'd be a very silly person," Kelly told AAP.

"I used to just watch them at training, watch them at games, just being around those guys with their work ethic, it's no coincidence they're among the top players in the world.

"It was tough leaving - this was my fifth year there and the club has always been unreal to me.

"But everyone plays footy to play first grade and it was pretty tough (to get a game) down there.

"As tough as it was to leave all those that are close to me it was pretty easy, I wanted an opportunity."

And after one game in the NSW Cup with Wentworthville, Kelly got that chance against the Panthers at the expense of the dumped Ben Roberts.

Hindmarsh - who rediscovered his running game to spark a late comeback by the blue and golds - admitted the youngster from Katherine in the Northern Territory gave the side something they had been lacking.

"Just his talk out on the field, guiding us around," Hindmarsh said.

"We knew our roles, we knew where we had to be because he was telling us what to do.

"We haven't had that for a long time."