Debut one to remember

New territory: Tom Eisenhuth made his first grade debut with the Panthers last Sunday. Picture: Gary WarrickALL strapped up and ready to play for the Panthers’ Toyota Cup side, the last thing Tom Eisenhuth expected to hear was that he was out of the team.
Nanjing Night Net

But as the 9.45am kick-off approached, coach Garth Brennan dropped the bombshell.

Despite travelling to New Zealand with the young cubs, his services were no longer required.

Instead, he’d been summoned to the Panthers’ first grade line-up, whisked straight into the starting side after one of their players had fallen ill, and sent into an immediate search for a phone to inform his family and friends in Australia that in a matter of hours, he would be making his first grade debut.

“I had to borrow a phone because mine wasn’t working,” Eisenhuth said.

“I was getting ready to go to the 20s game and Garth told me and then Ivan [Cleary] came and assured me it was going ahead.”

The 20-year-old centre and second-rower said he was consumed with excitement and nerves before running out onto the field with a host of new teammates to play a game for which he hadn’t prepared.

“I was very nervous but I tried not to show it,” he said.

“It was a great privilege to play, especially with the group of boys there at the moment.

“It’s something I’d been wanting to do but I didn’t think it was going to happen this year so to get the chance was pretty special.”

Also “pretty special” was the opportunity to celebrate an 18-16 victory in his first top-tier bout.

“To win your first game, it’s a game you don’t get back,” Eisenhuth said.

As a former Lower Mountains junior, Eisenhuth has progressed through the Panthers’ ranks, playing in their Harold Matthews Cup and SG Ball sides before joining their Toyota Cup squad three years ago.

Having inked a tick through his goal of making his first grade debut, the Springwood resident’s next aim is to appear in the team on a regular basis.

“Now I’ve had a taste, I want more,” he said.

“You always want to do it as a kid but to be up there every week playing with the best.

“It would be very special.”

One person who is proud of Eisenhuth’s first grade debut was the man who first delivered the news.

“I played him out of position in the centres and said it will benefit you being in the centre and back row,” Brennan said.

“And it did. It got him into NRL.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.