Nathan Cleary has shown why Daly Cherry-Evans is highly regarded amongst his peers after revealing his classy move after losing the halfback race for Australia.
The Penrith premiership winner recently won the hotly contested halfback race against Cherry-Evans for the quarter-final clash against Lebanon.
Cherry-Evans revealed to reporters the disappointment he felt when coach Mal Meninga approached him and said he would be playing off the bench against Lebanon.
“There was definitely a moment when (coach) Mal (Meninga) told me I wasn’t going to start, that I was disappointed,” Cherry-Evans said.
“But once you feel that initial disappointment you’ve just got to focus on what you can control and the last thing I needed to be doing was kicking stones. You’ve just gotta take it in and move on quickly."
While plenty was expected of Cleary after winning the coveted role, the 24-year-old had a slightly off game.
Despite admitting himself that he put in an 'average' performance, Cleary was all praise for his Australian teammate.
The Penrith halfback said it was 'surreal' when he was told he would be halfback for the quarter-final clash.
And Cleary said Cherry-Evans immediately approach him to offer support going forwards.
“Daly was such a man about it as well, he came up to me straight away and said ‘anything you need I’ll help you out’... he’s a legend,” Cleary added.
“It’s hard though, I was glad he got to play tonight and it’s just a surreal feeling to play alongside these guys."
Cherry-Evans went on to praise Cleary and claimed he will be the Australian halfback for many years to come and said he believes the 24-year-old will go on to become of the game's greats.
Nathan Cleary admits tough quarter-final clash
Following the match, Mal Meninga defended Cleary after admitting the display from the whole team was rather 'clunky', not just the halfback.
When asked about Cleary's performance, Meninga admitted the ruck speed may have impacted his game.
"Oh well, it was a pretty slow play the ball. So they were putting pressure on him and it's just the way it is over here," he said.
However, Cleary admitted there was room for improvement before the next match against either New Zealand or Fiji.
“I just have to keep putting my best foot forward. I was pretty average tonight so I’ve just got to keep working hard," he said post-match.
Regardless, Australia were still lethal thanks to an Addo-Carr masterclass.
The pick of his five tries came when Cameron Munster pulled off a ball steal on Lebanon fullback Jacob Kiraz before passing on for Addo-Carr to finish in the corner.
The Kangaroos have set up a semi-final with the winner of the quarter-final between New Zealand and Fiji next week at Elland Road, Leeds.
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