Nathan Cleary and Mary Fowler make things official as secret trip uncovered in photo

The Penrith Panthers player and Matildas striker have posted their first photo as a couple.

Nathan Cleary and Mary Fowler.

Nathan Cleary and Mary Fowler have gone 'Instagram official', posing for a photo at the beach together to confirm their relationship. The NRL player and Matildas striker have been together since late last year, but only on Tuesday night did they confirm the relationship on social media.

Cleary posted a number of photos with the caption "that's life", one of which was a happy snap of him and Fowler at the beach. It marks the first time either of them have posted a photo together or actually confirmed the relationship.

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Cleary and Fowler have been spotted together a number of times in recent months - most notably when he picked her up at Sydney airport when she returned from Manchester for the Christmas break. That was thought to be the first time they'd seen each other since she jetted off in November to re-join her club team in the Women's Super League in England.

But Cleary's post on Tuesday night shows that he actually made a secret trip to Manchester to visit Fowler before that. One of the photos shows Cleary outside a Japanese restaurant, with a sign in the background and a phone number starting with '0161' - the area code for Manchester. It means Cleary jetted off to Manchester and back to see Fowler and no one noticed.

Cleary also included an ice cream emoji in his caption - a reference to the ice cream date the pair went on that sparked the relationship rumours last year. Cleary and Fowler were spotted getting an ice cream together after a promotional photo shoot for Adidas, although their representatives denied that they were seeing each other at the time.

Cleary's post on Tuesday night sparked a flood of messages from around the sporting world - most notably from Cleary's Panthers teammate Brian To'o. The triple premiership winger commented: "Mr and Mrs Cleary."

Fellow Panthers player Daine Laurie wrote, “Love always wins my brother,", while the 'Hello Sport' podcast commented: "It’s never just an ice cream." Cleary's sister Indi wrote: "Watches a rom com, posts a debut, love it." While a number of other NRL and Matildas players also chimed in with messages.

Mary Fowler and Nathan Cleary, pictured here in action for the Matildas and Panthers.
Mary Fowler and Nathan Cleary. Image: Getty

Nathan Cleary and Mary Fowler a genuine sporting power couple

Speaking at a media event late last year, Fowler shut down questions about Cleary and the budding romance. But she did open up on a whirlwind year that saw her shoot to superstardom as she helped the Matildas make the semi-finals of the Women's World Cup in Australia.

“When you start out, you don’t really think too much about these things,” she said. “It’s been an incredible year. It’s hard to put into words how big it’s been. I didn’t expect that (how much Australia embraced the Matildas). I think the majority of us went into the World Cup not expecting that, but that was amazing. I think that was the best part of the World Cup, to see how many people got behind us and how together Australia came.”

Cleary also enjoyed a brilliant year, leading the Panthers to a third-consecutive NRL premiership. The halfback produced an incredible 20-minute blitz to help the Panthers erase a 24-8 deficit against the Broncos, scoring the match-winning try for a 26-24 victory.

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