Kenty’s Man of the Moment – Nathan Cleary – Penrith Panthers
Suddenly… he is on everybody’s lips. At least south of the border, anyway.
Nathan Cleary is still 19 but he has become a big part of NSW’s future after his dominant, match-winning performance against the Warriors last week.
Cleary had no right to do what he did against the Warriors. Still, 19, he went into the game with a rookie at five-eighth, his rising halves partner Matt Moylan out of the game, and back-up hooker Mitch Rein tossing him the ball from dummy-half.
Against him was the New Zealand Kiwis’ spine: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Kieran Foran, Shaun Johnson and Issac Luke … and yet Cleary dominated, with his three tries only part of it.
On Saturday Cleary runs out against Gold Coast as the most interesting player of the round, certainly with many prepared to tune in to see how he backs up from last week.
Adding to the interest is Cleary’s Gold Coast rival, the other No 7 rising through the ranks in the NRL, 22-year-old Ash Taylor.
Many predict they will eventually form an Origin halves rivalry to match the likes of Allan Langer-Ricky Stuart and Wally Lewis-Brett Kenny.
By Paul Kent
Image: NRL Imagery