Penrith teammate's message to critics amid Nathan Cleary furore

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·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
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NSW halfback Nathan Cleary (pictured) during State of Origin.
NSW halfback Nathan Cleary (pictured) said he would aim to turn around his performance in Game 2 of Origin after he was critical on himself after the Blues' loss. (Getty Images)

Penrith five-eighth Jarome Luai has defended Nathan Cleary after the halfback came under fire for his performance in the first State of Origin game.

The Blues face a tough task to overcome a near 30-year hoodoo to retain the State of Origin shield after going down to the Maroons in a frenetic series-opener.

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Cameron Munster was the catalyst as he terrorised the NSW defence all night on Wednesday and was rightfully praised for his man-of-the-match performance in Queensland's 16-10 victory.

Following the game, Cleary broke his silence and shouldered some of the blame for the loss.

However, his club and state teammate has jumped to his defence after his masterclass performance on the weekend.

There was nothing meek about Cleary's performance against the Knights with the halfback kicking seven goals and bagging a try in an 80-minute showing.

"I think it (the Panthers' win) is a reminder to everyone who's criticising Nath," Luai said.

"I think they're pretty quick to forget what we can do at our best. I can't wait to keep proving what we can do out there.

"I'm laughing about the negativity and I guess people are saying to change the whole squad around.

"In our four walls we are confident we can get the job done and there's two more games, so there's not too much to be down about."

Nathan Cleary discusses Origin performance

After the loss against the Maroons, Cleary admitted he wanted to turn some aspects around for the following game.

“My performance can lift others around me, and I wasn’t good enough," he said.

“I didn’t play well enough and that affects the result. It is on me to get better and if I am better the rest of the team is too.

“You have never fully got the game worked out. You think you are going alright and then a game like this happens. Sometimes it is not a bad thing."

Nathan Cleary (pictured) running out ahead of the State of Origin game.
Nathan Cleary (pictured) was critical of his performance in the first State of Origin. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Cleary said the loss at home was a reality check for his game at State of Origin level.

“It is a reality check that I need to get better, but win or lose I will keep trying to get better and it is no different this time," he added.

“I will review the game and go more in depth with what I need to do. I can’t be too focused on the results, I need to be focused driven and sometimes it is good to have a little kick up the backside that I do need to get better.”

with AAP

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