Laid back Kelly delivers for Manly
Exciting young Sea Eagles centre Brian Kelly is proving to be a revelation in his first season in the NRL.
Four tries in four games is a feat any player would take, yet alone a 20-year-old from Ballina, or as Kelly puts it, ‘the little coastal town on the Northern Rivers’.
Although Kelly may now be in the big smoke of Sydney, it seems the relaxed Ballina lifestyle is still very much part of his friendly nature.
Winger Akuila Uate described his new team-mate as ‘shy and quiet’ before letting on about his sleeping habits.
“He sleeps any time. You give him two minutes, that’s all he needs,’’ Uate laughed
Hooker Api Koroisau agreed, saying Kelly ‘just sleeps’.
“He will be sleeping in the change room before training and the boys have to go and wake him up,’’ Api said, with a smile.
“Brian doesn’t try and overplay his hand. He hasn’t changed a bit (since arriving for pre-season training) which is really good to see from a young guy.
“He is really quiet. He likes to crack a few jokes with the boys. We all love him.”
Originally signed to the Gold Coast Titans for this season, Kelly was released from his contract early after agreeing to join the Sea Eagles for two years from 2018.
Asked whether he saw the early move to the Sea Eagles as his chance to fill one of the vacant centre positions left by the retirement of Steve Matai and Jamie Lyon, Kelly was just his honest self.
“I didn’t know they were leaving. I just wanted a little change. Northern Beaches are similar to Gold Coast beaches, so, I was like, why not,’’ Kelly said.
“I still haven’t met him (Matai). Jamie Lyon came to training one time but I was running a bit late, so I haven’t met him either.
“By coming here, I was just hoping to play consistent footy with no injuries and get a crack through the year.
“I still pinch myself when I go home…I lay down and look back on the day and ask ‘did I just do that’. It is all still pretty much a dream at the moment.”
Kelly was certainly not dreaming when he delivered a perfect pass to fellow centre Dylan Walker that delivered the match winning try to end the winning run of the Sydney Roosters last Friday night.
It was one of those rare moments when both centres in the same team link up in a match.
“At training, we just try to link up now and then. We looked at each other and knew something was on,’’ Kelly said of his pass to Walker.
“It wasn’t a set play. We just looked at each other and it happened pretty quick.”
And as for those sleeping habits, Kelly confessed.
“I don’t get too worked up. I like to get in as much as sleep as I can,’’ he laughed.
“I’m a bad sleeper at home. When I come to training, I try to get as much sleep as I can (in between training).
“It is probably why the boys think I am so relaxed.”
And as to how good Kelly can be, Koroisau was full of praise.
"I haven’t seen a young centre come into the game and defend like he has,'' Koroisau said.
“His attack is great but I have been really impressed with the way he has taken on some big centres and has come out on top. He has a huge future ahead of him.
“What he did to put Dylan away for that try showed he looked like a seasoned NRL player.
“He has got a big play in him ‘BK’. All of the boys have faith in him and he is very confident within himself that he can do the job for us.”