Cleary boots his way into history
Nathan Cleary's record-breaking season will long live in the memory of Panthers fans after the youngster delivered one of the most masterful displays from the kicking tee in NRL history.
The rookie halfback earned rave reviews for his vision, toughness and ability with the ball-in-hand to eventually finish the season as the leading point scorer in the NRL. His tally of 228 points saw him become the youngest player to achieve the feat in over a century, with his goal-kicking making up a significant slice of his haul.
The teenager led the NRL for goals kicked with 92 – matched only by Storm legend Cameron Smith – but he outperformed his decorated opposition by being the only goal-kicker in the competition to kick with over 90% accuracy.
Cleary was just the fifth player in history since goal-kicking statistics were recorded to achieve the milestone with a 90.2% success rate. His efforts matched those of previous Panthers Michael Gordon (2009) and Ryan Girdler (1997).
The sharpshooter's ability was none more evident than from the sideline, ranking second in the competition for successful conversions from the chalk with 64.7%, behind only Adam Reynolds (69.2%).
In the process he became the most successful goal-kicking teenager in history with a career success rate of 86.3%, overtaking the likes of Chris Sandow (85.7%) and Jarrod Croker (83.3%). His 145 goals are over twice as much as his nearest rival Michael Buettner (70).