As a coach it would be a dream come true to make the NRL grand final with his son, but as a father Ivan Cleary is proud of the man Nathan is becoming.
Ahead of the biggest game of their entwined NRL careers, coach Cleary has spoken about the pride he has in his son to overcome self-doubts, setbacks and pressure.
At 22, the halfback is in the best season of his career and is just seven points away from cracking 800 points for Penrith, behind only Ryan Girdler (1572) and Greg Alexander (1104).
And still, his father believes his best days are still years away.
However, as Penrith prepare for their 17th successive win in Saturday's preliminary final against South Sydney, the coach reserved a moment of reflection for how far they have come.
Asked what it would mean to head into a grand final as father and son, Cleary said: "That would be a dream come true.
"I'm extremely proud of Nath first and foremost ... as a person and as a man that he's developing into," he said on Friday.
"He's had a lot of setbacks and pressure I guess, especially over the last 12 months.
"As a player he's blossomed this year and he's still only 22.
"He's probably three, four or five years away from his best as well.
"He's certainly made my job as a coach easier this year and probably made us all look good, he's had a great year."
The Panthers come into Saturday's clash at ANZ Stadium on the biggest winning streak to reach a preliminary final in the game's history.
For coach Cleary, his previous longest streak was seven with Penrith last year, and before that, it was five with the Panthers in 2014.
"Man, it's a lot of fun," he said of winning.
"And I've seen the other side too often too.
"We've been making sure that we're not taking it for granted and I think that's been shown in the level of consistency we've had.
"You've got to have a lot of things go your way to get this type of streak.
"Certainly in this season and inside a bubble it's made life a lot rosier around these parts."
The bubble, he says, have allowed him to watch more footy than ever this year.
Earlier this week Souths coach Wayne Bennett said he hadn't seen much of Penrith this year, but Cleary isn't buying it.
"I interpreted that he's been playing you guys for so long and you're still falling for it," Cleary said with a smile.
"I don't know what else you do in the bubble, really. I've been watching heaps of footy."
STATS THAT MATTER
*28 of the Panthers 97 tries this season have come from kicks, the most of any team, while Souths have conceded 25 of their 72 tries from kicks (34.7 per cent), the highest percentage of any team.
*Expect a fast start as these teams are the two highest scoring first-half teams - the Panthers the best (14.8 points per game) and Rabbitohs second best (14.7).
*Under the current finals system (since 2012), when the minor premiers have won in week one, they have gone on to win their preliminary final all five times.