He made a huge statement on the field during Sunday night's record-breaking grand final comeback – now Penrith champion Nathan Cleary has made just as big a statement off the field. The champion Penrith halfback has officially endorsed the 'Yes' campaign ahead of the Voice referendum on October 14, stirring heated debate on both sides of the argument.
Cleary, in his first venture into the political arena, backs the 'Yes' vote in a TikTok video which looks to have been taken inside Penrith's dressing-room. It's understood the video was shot three weeks ago and released hours after the brilliant No.7 steered his side to a remarkable two-point victory over the Brisbane Broncos.
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With his team down by 16 points, Cleary single-handedly dragged them back into the contest and over the line for a third straight premiership. It was the biggest comeback in grand final history and landed the 25-year-old a second Clive Churchill Medal.
His performance is being rated the best individual display in a grand final, leaving the likes of Cameron Smith, Andrew Johns and Johnathan Thurston in complete awe. Cleary showed interest in the 'Yes' campaign following a presentation to Penrith players last month by Indigenous leader Roy Ah-See and asked about getting further involved.
"He said I’ll do anything. He said he wanted to live in a better country which was inclusive for everyone and he felt strong about it," Ah-See told Nine Newspapers. "I'm just so proud of him. They are leaders in their space and what they do."
Wearing a 'We support the Uluru statement' t-shirt, Cleary says: "No voice, no choice. Come on Australia, vote yes," before giving a thumbs up. The video was shared on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's social media platforms and instantly attracted heavy online attention.
Nathan Cleary is saying Yes to a Voice to Parliament. And on October 14 Australians have the opportunity to say Yes - I will be. pic.twitter.com/owDi6k1RKb
— Andrew Giles MP (@andrewjgiles) October 3, 2023
David Pocock commends Nathan Cleary for 'Yes' stance
Former Wallabies captain and federal politician David Pocock was quick to applaud Cleary's involvement but noted it would come with criticism. "Just when you thought Nathan Cleary couldn't get any better. Love to see it," Pocock posted on X.
"Cue the 'stick to footy' commentary. A good reminder this is a question for all of us, from footballers to sparkies to teachers to hairdressers and everyone in between."
Pocock was right. There were those who were dead against Cleary's involvement. "Don't the 'yes' people realise that they have just stuffed up again......most other Sydney team supporters plus most of Queensland as well will vote the opposite to what he says," one 'No' backer posted.
"Not everybody loves Nathan Cleary, and nobody likes getting told what to do...I'm voting no today."
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