Penrith coach Ivan Cleary has taken a hilarious dig at his son Nathan in an early morning interview after the NRL grand final. The father and son combination are proving to be one of the most successful partnerships in NRL history, with Penrith becoming the first team in over 40 years to win three-straight NRL premierships.
The third title in a row was made extra special, with the Panthers halfback leading his team from 16-points down to win, which is the biggest comeback in NRL grand final history. The cool, calm and collected Ivan Cleary was all class after the team's victory.
But the 52-year-old clearly enjoyed the post-match celebrations, appearing on Channel 9's 'Today' show at 6am on Monday for an interview. The master coach held it together after admitting: "I feel pretty good going live".
He saved some hilarious words for Nathan when asked how proud he was of his son. "I actually said to him yesterday, if I had've married someone else, he would have been a pretty s**t player. I got to thank his mum for everything that he has got. Certainty not from me," Cleary said to huge laughter.
"He owes me. I have driven him to that many things, made lunches for him. But now he is making life easy for me."
He's the man of the moment and he's soaking his third NRL Premiership all in! 🐾🏆
Supercoach Ivan Cleary isn't looking too bad after a massive night of celebrations.
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Cleary smiled when he was asked how many drinks he had throughout the celebrations. "I am not sure how to answer that," Cleary said. He also couldn't help but take a cheeky dig at Queenslanders when asked if he thought the Panthers could win from 24-8 down.
"Yeah, Queenslanders fail at the end, a lot of the time. We knew they would falter," Cleary said (clearly joking), before going on to praise the Broncos. Cleary admitted he didn't know how the team was able to turn things around, but was thrilled for the Penrith community. "It was an incredible game," he said. "I still can't believe we won the game. The community means everything to us."
Nathan Cleary looks back on 2020 grand final loss
The star of the show in the grand final was the 25-year-old Panthers halfback. Cleary helped drag his team back into the contest, before scoring the match-winning try. And Cleary looked back on the 2020 defeat to the Storm as a changing point. "I just think when things weren't going right I just dropped my head and was in a haze," he said. "What happened in 2020 readied me for tonight.
"Tonight when things weren't going right, I was playing well. I still felt clear in what I needed to do. I felt this urge within me to take the game on. Where in 2020 I was probably shying away from it a bit just trying not to make mistakes."
And the three-time premiership winning halfback admitted the grand final loss in 2020 helped him find the motivation to turn the game around. "Sometimes things feel s**t at the time, like they did in that 2020 game, but I think it's made me who I am today," Cleary said after the game.
"I wouldn't say I was rattled (against Brisbane). I was probably disappointed with what I was doing. I mention that 2020 grand final again, I was rattled that night. I reckon that's helped me in a moment like tonight."
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