Luke Kelly

It was going to happen eventually, but no-one thought it would happen so quickly – with the Melbourne Storm confirming that utility Luke Kelly, who started off the bench in the Storm’s loss last night, will be released to the Parramatta Eels, effective immediately.

Kelly, who had a contract with the Melbourne Storm until the end of 2013, was granted an early release by the club – with Kelly having the chance to play immediate first-grade for the Eels, as a utility player.

Kelly, 23, was a debutant in 2009, the same year the Storm took out the NYC premiership – and he has played in 6 NRL games to date, including last night’s loss.

Frank Ponissi, the Storm’s General Manager of Football Operations, said that the club had no problem in allowing Kelly to leave early.

“The club totally understands the reasons for Luke’s request for an early release,” Ponissi said.

“It was a difficult decision, however given his tremendous service to Melbourne Storm, we did not want to prevent him taking up the opportunity of playing regular first grade football which he is very capable of doing.

“He is very popular around the club with both players and staff and he leaves with the club’s full support and best wishes.”

With recent long-term injuries to both Casey McGuire and Jason Seage, Eels coach Stephen Kearney sees Kelly’s signing as valuable, given his utility value.

“Luke’s a quality young player who has got his best football ahead of him,” Kearney said.

“He’s got the all-round skills we need in his position in that he’s very good at directing traffic, has a solid kicking game and is sound defensively.

“We’ve had some unfortunate injuries to some of our key options in the halves so he’s certainly a valuable addition to our squad.”

By ricky

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