On Cloud Nine: Naden, Burton, Ellis and Burns named to Panther's Nines squad

Naden to start in Panther's Nines squad, Burton, Ellis and Burns also named

The Penrith Panthers firming reputation as a proving ground for the Central West's best up and coming footy talent will be on display in the upcoming 2020 NRL Nines Tournament.

Central West products Kaide Ellis, Matt Burton, Billy Burns and Brent Naden have all been named in the line-up for the round one meeting with the Sydney Roosters in HBP Park in Perth on Friday, February 14 before taking on the Newcastle Knights side on the following Saturday.


Wellington born Brent Naden will be the only one of the four to occupy a starting spot in the line-up after his whirlwind debut year with the Panther's first grade squad, with Parkes' junior Billy Burns and Dubbo's Kaide Ellis and Matt Burton in the back nine.

Naden will once again don the number four jersey in his return to the centres for the club where he's made his home, with Burns returning to the bench after Cleary's return from injury.

This time out, however, Naden and his Central West compatriots will be dressed in Panther's pink, with the vibrant colours brought back for the Panther's Nines squad this year, the fan-favourite alternate colours were last worn by the Panthers in 2017, before any of the current crop of regional talent had received a call-up.

Missing from the usual list of Central West names adorning the Panther's roster is Dubbo-born second-rower Isaah Yeo.

While initial reports pegged the powerful former Dubbo CYMS first grade player as a likely appearance in the Panther's early rep games and pre-season fixtures, Yeo hasn't yet been seen in action since a persistent shoulder injury ended his 2019 season early and required surgery.

Former Parkes' spaceman Billy Burns will sit in the twelfth spot on the roster making the trip to Perth, after scoring two tries in his second appearance in the NRL at the tail-end of last year.

Burns signed on for an extra two years with the Panthers after that performance and has affirmed his desire to earn a starting spot in the first grade line-up, telling penrithpanthers.com.au, "Heading into next season I'm focused on locking down a spot in the NRL side and delivering consistent performances at that level."

It's a goal shared by Matt Burton, who stepped up as a one-game replacement during the 2019 season for a game and is currently targeting a 2020 starting position.