Panthers superstar Nathan Cleary has ‘banned’ sister Indi from getting anywhere near the NRL’s Grand Final trophy should Penrith go back-to-back in Sunday’s blockbuster grand final.
The Panthers are preparing for an all-western Sydney showdown with Parramatta at Accor Stadium where the halfback and coach Ivan Cleary will be hoping to deliver another premiership.
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The Panthers endured a controversial end to their season in 2021 when the club was hit with a series of breach notices during the wild premiership celebrations that followed their win over the Rabbitohs.
The NRL handed down significant fines for three Penrith stars — Cleary, Stephen Crichton and Tyrone May — who were found to have brought the game into disrepute.
They were seen in photos posted on social media showing disrespect to the Provan-Summons Trophy after it had been broken during a staff function.
The Daily Telegraph now appears to have solved the mystery behind how the trophy was damaged, reporting Indi was “in the vicinity” when it was knocked off a table next to the dance floor at the club’s grand final celebrations event.
Nathan Cleary added to the rumour by joking to the newspaper “she is banned if we win it”.
The trophy was just one of many social media scandals that erupted following the team’s grand final win.
May was also filmed using an offensive slur during teammate Viliame Kikau’s Instagram live Q+A.
May had a tumultuous week following Penrith’s grand final win, having earlier attracted a backlash surrounding a deleted Instagram caption.
Rumours also spread at the time he was is in a romantic relationship with Indi after the pair were seen together in images they shared on Instagram.
Nathan Cleary, meanwhile, has bigger things on his mind as he faces a chance to cement himself as one of the greatest players in recent years.
At the age of just 24, Cleary has been mentioned alongside Newcastle icon Andrew Johns and former Cowboys megastar Johnathan Thurston as the greatest halfbacks of the modern game — and he could still have up to 10 more years to eclipse their records.
Legendary playmaker Cooper Cronk said on Fox League this week Cleary had already gone ahead of him.
“I can’t speak on behalf of Joey, but absolutely, he is streets ahead of me,” Cronk said.
“He has got the physical skills, the kicking game and passing game, but the maturity and composure, and the temperament in big moments is a huge thing.
“I think the fact that he studies the opposition within an inch of his life, he has got the skills and execution to back it up.
“But as I said, the ability to galvanise his team and come up with a big play, there is no real ceiling on what Nathan can do.
“But right now, he is one of the best players and trajectory wise he can just about achieve anything.”