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Mixed Media: Nathan Cleary

John Shamon

Panthers playmaker Nathan Cleary fronted the media to discuss the potential return of his dad in the NRL, how the team reacted to the loss against the Roosters and the work he has put in during pre-season to improve his kicking game.

Following the departure of Jason Taylor at the Tigers, Cleary was pressed on whether his dad, Ivan, would soon be making a return to the dugout.

“That’s what he wants to do and I’d like to see it but as of yet he hasn’t got a phone call. He just sits around at home at the moment”, he said.

Asked whether he’d like to link up with Ivan if he were to coach another side, he added: “I have a contract with the Panthers… I’m happy with that.”

Reflecting on the tough loss to the Roosters, Cleary assured the team would take a lot out of the game.

“There’s a lot of positives from last week,” he said.

“We played pretty tough and our defence was good at stages and that’s what we were hoping to do in these early rounds.

Execution wise we’ve got a lot of work to do but hopefully that can develop in the next few rounds.”

Following the loss, NRL Referee’s boss Tony Archer admitted the Roosters match-winning try should not have been allowed, but Cleary refused to blame the loss on the incorrect decision.

“It doesn’t really make much of a difference to us. We’ve moved on from that.

“We had enough chances to win that game and we can’t really dwell on what happened with the referee.

Hopefully we can turn it around and get the win this week.”

The halfback’s kicking game tormented the Roosters back-line all night, something he said he worked hard on in pre-season.

“I’ve been working on it in pre-season,” said Cleary.

“It’s something I wanted to get better at and we’ve got a kicking coach and Gus who have helped us out as well.

“I was a bit shocked, actually. He (Gus) came out one day when I was putting them up and he gave me a bit of a tip on what to do.

“I’m definitely taking it on board; he’s a bit of a genius.” 

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