Iluka's Daine Laurie with family members at McGuren Field - the homeground one of his junior clubs Grafton Ghosts - during his offseason home visit after his debut NRL season with the Penrith Panthers in 2020.
Iluka's Daine Laurie with family members at McGuren Field - the homeground one of his junior clubs Grafton Ghosts - during his offseason home visit after his debut NRL season with the Penrith Panthers in 2020.

Daine Laurie signs new deal to secure NRL future

DAINE Laurie will have one last season to force his way into the starting side for NRL premiership contenders Penrith Panthers before making the switch to rivals Wests Tigers.

The Tigers announced last week the 21-year-old has agreed to join the club for two years from the start of the 2022 season.

It will see the rising talent rejoin his captain in 2020, James Tamou, who joins the Tigers in 2021 on a two-year deal.

Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe was delighted to see Laurie commit his future to the club.

“Daine is one of the best young fullbacks in the game and we’re very excited to see him take the next steps in his rugby league career with the Wests Tigers,” Pascoe said.

“His commitment to the future of Wests Tigers highlights the strong squad and future that coach Michael Maguire is delivering for this club, and we’re looking forward to welcome Daine into our colours at the start of the 2022 season.”

Daine Laurie celebrates after scoring a try for the Penrith Panthers jersey flegg side during the preliminary final earlier this season.
Daine Laurie celebrates after scoring a try for the Penrith Panthers jersey flegg side during the preliminary final earlier this season.

Laurie joined the Panthers and played in the SG Ball Cup in 2017 before scoring 23 tries in 33 games over the course of the 2018 and 2019 Jersey Flegg Cup seasons. He was named the club’s Jersey Flegg Cup Player of the Year in 2018, when Penrith finished runners up to Cronulla-Sutherland.

He made his NRL debut in round 13 this year against Canberra Raiders, and earned his first start at fullback when Dylan Edwards was rested in the final round against Canterbury Bulldogs, running for a match high 215 metres in the 42-0 whitewash.

After watching Penrith’s 26-20 grand final loss to Melbourne from the sidelines on October 25, Laurie has spent most of his time outside the NRL bubble during the off-season with friends and family in the Clarence Valley.

He met with The Daily Examiner editor Bill North in Grafton earlier this month on the eve of the Clarence Valley Sports Awards where from both his junior clubs Clarence Coast Magpies and Grafton Ghosts had teams nominated for the Telstra Team of the Year.

“I enjoyed my time up in the Clarence Valley playing for both sides, and they both had a massive influence on my career,” Laurie said.

Iluka’s Daine Laurie at McGuren Field – the home-ground one of his junior clubs Grafton Ghosts – during his off-season home visit after his debut NRL season with the Penrith Panthers in 2020.
Iluka’s Daine Laurie at McGuren Field – the home-ground one of his junior clubs Grafton Ghosts – during his off-season home visit after his debut NRL season with the Penrith Panthers in 2020.

The 21-year-old shared some insights into living out his debut season inside the NRL bubble:

BILL NORTH: Describe your NRL debut.

DAINE LAURIE: It was unreal actually, ever since I was a little kid I dreamt of playing NRL, playing and watching footy, the feeling was just unreal and to have my family down there too was just awesome too, just to see how overwhelmed they were after the game, and myself, I just can’t explain how I was feeling.

Daine Laurie with his family who travelled to see his first NRL game at Penrith Stadium.
Daine Laurie with his family who travelled to see his first NRL game at Penrith Stadium.

BN: What was it like in the Penrith Panthers camp?

DL: Training with the likes of Jimmy Tamou who’s going next year and all those blokes that I’ve watched played on TV, was unreal, and to play alongside them too was even better.

BN: How was the mood after the grand final loss to Melbourne?

DL: It was disappointing but what can you do? Our start wasn’t as we planned, but we made it that far, trained that hard and hopefully we can go better next year.

BN: How was living in the bubble?

DL: It was pretty stressful. Couldn’t really do much, the most we could do was go grocery shopping and get a haircut. It was pretty tough, but we had a tight bunch around the team group, which just made it a lot easier I guess.

BN: Have you enjoyed being home?

DL: Yeah it’s good seeing friends and family plus jumping in the beach too. There’s no beach out in Penrith, so I miss that a lot, I’ve been playing touch the last couple of weeks and it’s been good.

BN: Any advice for kids with an NRL dream?

DL: Just working hard, and make sure you make as many friends as you can down there too, try to get in with a close group and hang out with people who want the same goal as you and it will all just happen from there then.

DARE TO DREAM: Maclean High players jump for joy to celebrate Daine Laurie’s second half try against Callaghan College in round of 20 match of the University Shield in 2016.
DARE TO DREAM: Maclean High players jump for joy to celebrate Daine Laurie’s second half try against Callaghan College in round of 20 match of the University Shield in 2016.


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