NRL fans have gone wild over Aussie surfing legend Mick Fanning's post-match celebrations with the Panthers at the grand final, while Jarome Luai couldn't help but take a crack at his critics following his third-straight premiership. The Panthers celebration mode was in full swing after having created history in becoming the first team to win three-straight premierships since the Eels completed the feat in 1983.
Nathan Cleary was in awe of the team's comeback having produced a 20-minute masterclass himself and Penrith fan and surfing icon Fanning didn't pass up the opportunity to join the team on the field and celebrate. The three-time world surfing champion was enjoying his time with the premiers and gave an all-action interview on Channel Nine as he walked around with the players.
"Are you kidding. This is the best thing ever," Fanning said on Channel Nine. Fanning reserved some special praise for Cleary in his interview. "He is the greatest athlete on earth," he added. Fanning then cheered out loud as he claimed they would have 'so much fun' in then celebrations.
Fanning was seen with the Panthers after their NRL preliminary final win having joined the Cleary and his teammates in the sheds for their post-match celebrations. While Fanning was enjoying the moment, Luai was also thrilled.
Luai didn't finish the game having come off in pain due to a shoulder injury, which he has been carrying for weeks. The Panthers five-eighth was a doubt heading into the NRL finals but managed to play through the pain to help his team win another grand final.
Luai was heavily criticised this year for his role in the Blues' State of Origin loss, which saw him dropped for Game III. He took aim at his critics after Origin.
And Luai appears to have taken a light-hearted dig at those same critics again after the NRL grand final. Posting on his social media account, Luai wrote: "Who's got work tomorrow," he wrote with a photo of him laughing and pointing at the camera. Most of Australia didn't have work because Monday was a public holiday.
He also posted another photo of himself celebrating the premiership accompanied with a caption of him laughing. There is no doubt Luai had taken on a role of antagonist at times and many claimed he was once again poking fun at his critics.
Looks like Penrith’s celebrations have been incident free for the first time in their three-peat.
Yes Jarome Luai had a bit of fun on his Instagram but on the scale of crimes we rate that quite low. In comparison to recent years!!
We’ll be back tomorrow to wrap up GF day!!
— The League Scene (@LeagueScenePod) October 2, 2023
Man of the match - M. Fanning pic.twitter.com/xozjSeM3h8
— Shelon Mollusc (@JayPHell1) October 1, 2023
Ivan Cleary was also seen getting into the swing of things after Penrith's victory. Calm and composed throughout the season, Cleary was seen singing along with fans as they chanted his name.
Ivan Cleary composed himself that entire grand final, even when Nathan scored what was guaranteed to be the winner. He epitomised cool, calm and collected. So this video of him celebrating to the sounds of an “Ivan” chant at Panthers has absolutely sent me. He earned this 😂 pic.twitter.com/SGqzmssElv
— V (@TicsVitsJacThic) October 1, 2023
Brisbane Broncos devastated over grand final collapse
While the Panthers team were celebrating history in the NRL era, the Broncos were left devastated having let a 16-point lead slip with 20 minutes to go. In an interview with Brad Fittler, Adam Reynolds praised the Panthers for the comeback. “I’m extremely proud but geez we let that one slip," he said. "Can’t fault the effort of the team but lapses in concentration, it’s a hard one to take.
“Credit to Penrith, they were fantastic, obviously led by Nathan Cleary. I’ve got no words, I can’t sum that one up.”
Brisbane coach Kevin Walters said it was "hard to get your head around what happened". He added: "There's no emotion. It's very quiet (in the sheds). I feel for all the players that gave so much, but it wasn't enough in the end.
"That second period for 20 minutes at the start of the second half is the Broncos I know. We need to do that for 80. We are not there yet, but when we do we will win premierships. That is what it is about.
"We are not far off but we are getting there. We are a lot closer now than we were 12 months ago. Would everyone agree? I think so."
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