Cleary credits Koroisau for hot NRL start

Matt Encarnacion
Nathan Cleary has lauded the early season form of Penrith teammate Api Koroisau

Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary has credited Api Koroisau for his side's sizzling early-season form.

A week after upsetting reigning premiers the Sydney Roosters, Cleary, Koroisau, and rookie Stephen Crichton, were key in Friday's come-from-behind win over St George Illawarra.

Cleary's form in particular has been red-hot as the chief playmaker, scoring a try and having a hand in two others at an empty Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

The NSW representative also kicked a perfect six goals in as many attempts, which took him past Preston Campbell into fourth on the club's pointscoring list.

"I think there's still definitely areas that I can improve and get better for the team, but it's been a good start," Cleary said.

"The addition of Api's been a massive help for me ... The way Api controls his forwards, he takes pressure off me and tries to get us around the field as well."

Koroisau was heading for Canterbury last year before Penrith swooped at the last minute, prompting the release of Wayde Egan and Sione Katoa.

And after two games, it appears his signing is paying dividends so far.

"He's very crafty out of hooker. He's probably the most under-rated player in the comp with the kind of stuff he does," Cleary said.

"And his leadership also goes unnoticed but is a massive asset."

Panthers coach, and Nathan's dad, Ivan, said his son was enjoying the benefits of being in good physical shape following their arduous pre-season.

But he also conceded Koroisau had already made an impact on Nathan's game because of the way he is able to manipulate defenders.

"If (Koroisau is) creating a little bit of deception around the ruck constantly, it gives (Nathan) a little bit more space and time," Ivan said.

"They've already formed a pretty good combination.

"They communicate well together and yeah, they've pretty much the two main guys, your hooker and halfback. They're working pretty well together so far."

Ivan also revealed fullback Dylan Edwards is a strong chance of returning from an ankle injury for next week's away clash with Melbourne.