You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Kenny making most of surprise chance with sterling efforts

If you told part-time Panthers hooker Mitch Kenny at the start of May that by the end of the month he'd have a 2-0 winning record at NRL level he probably wouldn't have believed you.

Kenny isn't getting carried away after a whirlwind fortnight that saw him called up for an NRL debut under an exemption due to Wayde Egan's shoulder injury.

The 21-year-old came off the bench in the drought-breaking win over the Eels in round 11 then made a whopping 58 tackles in a huge 80-minute stint against Manly in round 12.

"I didn't expect a chance this year at all," Kenny told

"I got an exemption last week and I was able to get one this week so I'm just trying to take every opportunity I get."

Kenny is not only outside the club's top 30 but he's not even on the six-player development list. It hasn't stopped him making 420 tackles at 47 per game in the Canterbury Cup before his shock NRL call-up.

"I ended up kicking on for 80 [minutes against Manly] which was another challenge but I'm pretty proud of how I handled it. Whatever's asked of me I'm always going to try and do," Kenny added.

Match Highlights: Panthers v Sea Eagles

While a regular NRL berth in the future is certainly a goal, Kenny isn't fazed if it doesn't materialise straight away. With Egan due back in round 13 there's every chance Kenny won't feature at NRL level again in 2019 but if he does he'll be ready to grab that chance just as he has the past two.

"At the moment I'm just on a part-time contract, rolling with the punches in terms of the exemptions," he said.

"I'm not too sure what's going to happen from here on out but I'll just take it as it comes. I'm riding a high at the moment, I've got a lot of people getting around me which I'm enjoying."

The Bachelor of Arts/Education student spend the first part of the season working with the Panthers grounds crew but has had to put that on hold due to his sudden increase in NRL responsibilities.

"I know that won't always last but at the moment I'm just trying to take it for what it is and just trying to enjoy these weeks," he added.

"Footy's a really funny thing, you just have to always be ready. I'd like to think I was [ready], I didn't know I was getting the call up when I was but when I did I just tried to do my best.

"That's all anyone's asking of me and that's all I'm asking of myself, is just to turn up and try my best whenever I get a chance."

He said he has no idea whether to expect a third NRL start in round 13, or even in 2019.

"I'll just take it as it comes. Same as this week and same as last week. Whatever happens and I'll just roll with it," he said.

Every try from Round 12

His coach Ivan Cleary said Kenny's performance against Manly was a great effort.

"Eighty minutes in the middle and almost 60 tackles," Cleary said.

"He just plays the same way every week, trains the same. He's the same every day, just comes in with a good attitude and does his best.

"He goes looking for work, makes his tackles, I don't think he made a mistake out of dummy half [against Manly], he did exactly what was asked of him.

"We've only got him in through an exemption the last couple of weeks so, bit of an anomaly in the system we have at the moment that a kid like that won't be able to keep playing."

Acknowledgement of Country

Penrith Panthers players and staff respect and honour the traditional custodians of the land and pay our respects to their elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.