The Penrith Panthers have an accumulative score-line of 80-18 in their favour to start the Intrust Super Premiership NSW season, largely thanks to their new-look five eighth, Tyrone May.
He’s only 20 years of age, and has spent the past few seasons in a successful Panthers under-20s outfit, steering his side to the 2015 premiership, and making the Holden Cup team of the year last season.
Now, he’s stepped it up and is playing against men in the team that he loves, which hasn’t been to the detriment of May, who has scored a try in both games, and had a hand in a few more to start the season.
“I’ve been training with the full-time squad, and it’s been a good experience,” May says to NSWRL.com.au.
“It’s my first full-time pre season, and it’s the hardest pre-season I’ve ever had, I’m just trying to get used to it.
“I’m a Penrith boy, but I actually grew up a Roosters supporter, but now I can’t take my eyes off the Panthers; I’ve been a local junior and now I’m playing for them.
“It doesn’t get any better.”
The difference between Holden Cup and Intrust Super Premiership NSW is the greater physicality in the latter competition, compared to the fast-paced under-20s.
May believes no different, but places a great importance on slowly progressing through these competitions in order to one day become an NRL player for the Panthers.
“Everyone are still teenagers [in the Holden Cup], but up here you’ve got people that have played first grade, they’re fully grown men and they hit a lot harder, and it’s a lot harder to get out of tackles,” May says.
“I think [NRL] is everyone’s goal, you’ve just got to take the steps slowly and keep playing good footy as a team.
“You win together as a team, not [as an] individual.”
May is only 50 per cent of the new-look halves combination at Penrith, with Darren Nicholls also shining brightly at halfback in the opening two games.
Despite the fact that May thought Nicholls was considerably younger than 27 years old until halfway through the pre season, the pair will look to complement each other for the rest of 2017 as they have done to start the year.
“Yeah Dessy [Nicholls] is a bit of an older head, I didn’t realise his age until mid-way through the pre season,” May says.
“He’s been around the block a few times and he knows how to control the team.
“I just work off him, and with the forwards going forward it makes our jobs easier as halves to direct the boys around.”
The Panthers demolished the Wests Tigers 52-12 earlier today, in a game where it would be unfair to single out a player for their performance.
May is adamant the game was tougher than the scoreboard suggests, and despite the 40-point victory, was not satisfied with all aspects of the game.
“Tigers came out with a strong team, it was tough the whole way through, and we scored three quick tries at the end and blew the score out,” May says.
“We’re not too worried about the result, we’re focused on how we can perform better week in, week out.
“We’re just trying to focus on our defence more than anything; we let in two soft tries at the start there and I don’t think the coach was too happy with that.”