Nathan Cleary's honest confession ahead of World Cup final: 'Not owed'

Nathan Cleary (pictured left) before a match and (pictured right) Mal Meninga during a press conference.
Nathan Cleary (pictured left) has admitted he hasn't been at his best this World Cup, but has the full backing of Mal Meninga (pictured right) after some high praise. (Getty Images)

Kangaroos halfback Nathan Cleary has given an honest interview about his performances at the Rugby League World Cup and admitted he will give it his all in the final against Samoa.

Cleary has cemented his spot as the current and future halfback for Australia during this edition of the World Cup after usurping incumbent Daly Cherry-Evans.

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While plenty of talk heading into the World Cup was about who would snare the halfback role, Cleary had the backing and has won the race after a number of decent performances.

However, the Penrith premiership winner has admitted he still hasn't show his best after the two knockout games against Lebanon and New Zealand.

Australia escaped against a brutal New Zealand outfit with a 16-14 win after Cameron Murray caught a fatigued New Zealand team napping and went over in the 52nd minute.

Looking ahead to the final at Old Trafford, Cleary has admitted an improvement in his game is needed.

The two-time premiership halfback admitted the combinations have been difficult to nail down, but it's his job to perform in the final.

“The last few games haven’t been my best but I feel like I’ve been building," he said.

“Coming into a new team it’s pretty hard to gel straight away with new combinations, I think it’s been two games we’ve all played together so it’s always going to be a difficult task, but I feel like we’re building.

“In a team like this you don’t need to be the superstar every week and you can just try and unlock other players and gel really well as a team.”

Nathan Cleary praises teammates before World Cup final

Cleary has already enjoyed a glittering career having only turned 25 on Monday.

And the halfback, having made his Australian debut in the UK, said he has been soaking in all the advice and experience from veterans such as Cherry-Evans, James Tedesco and Cameron Munster.

“That’s always been the case for me, every day I come and try and do my best to try and get the best out of myself and sometimes it pays off and sometimes it doesn’t," Cleary added.

“That’s just human nature - you can’t be perfect all the time, you’re not always going to have good days, you’re going to have bad days, it’s about trying to improve and get better."

Cleary received the highest form of praise from coach Mal Meninga ahead of the final.

Nathan Cleary (pictured) celebrating.
Nathan Cleary (pictured) was in stellar form during the NRL season and won the race for the Australian halfback role. (Getty Images)

Having coached legends such as Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith at State of Origin and international level, Meninga claimed Cleary is certainly cut out to be a future legend.

While Cleary will be looking to lean on his Aussie teammates, club halves pairing Jarome Luai will be looking to spoil his party.

Samoa's Luai said he expects there to be no niceties out on the field between the pair, in what is the biggest game of their careers.

"It's going to be awesome, we are competitors through and through. It's going to be a battle against one of my boys, but out there - there's no friends on the field," Luai said.

"There are only brothers and enemies and I'm always going to look at it the same way. We (Luai and Cleary) grew up in the same comp but we haven't played each other on a real high (level)."

with AAP

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