Dream come true for Billy Burns as he makes his first grade debut

Parkes' rugby league sensation Billy Burns is still riding the high of having his first grade dream made a reality when he debuted for the Penrith Panthers last Saturday night.

"It was a pretty good first game," the 20-year-old back-rower said.

"It was an easy transition as I had travelled away with the team for the two weeks before it.

"They had groomed me in the sheds before the game pretty well so game day was no different, I was just playing.

"I was still very nervous but it was very good and very enjoyable."

The former Parkes Marist and Parkes Spacemen junior signed a development contract with the club in February and now has his sights set on a regular gig on the first grade paddock.

"Hopefully I've put in a good case for next year," he said.

"Coach had a yarn with me, he said it was a good game, it's hard to judge as it was my first game but he said I handled it pretty well so that's always good to hear.

"The next goal is to play some regular first grade next year, that would be good.

"I don't want to be floating between reserve grade and first grade. Trying to cement a spot would be the main goal at the moment.

"We'll see how that rolls out over the preseason."

According to the Penrith Panthers website, Burns played for 35 minutes off the bench, made 19 tackles and had 20 running metres with the ball on his NRL debut.

Parkes was given quite a plug during the Channel Nine TV broadcast of the game when Burns took to the field in the 25th minute.

Commentators described the player from Parkes as a prolific try-scorer in the lower grades who has good footwork and "deserves his chance".

They also said a busload of people from Parkes had made the trip to the SCG to watch him play and that Burns' dad travels to every one of his games. The Parkes Spacemen made it into the discussion too.

Billy said it was an emotional run to his family and friends after the game.

"It was great to see the turn out," he said.

"All mum's friends were there and there was a lot of support from Parkes and lots of family members."

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