Eels star Shaun Lane has warned Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary of an incoming “headache” he faces in the NRL grand final on Sunday.
Lane has enjoyed the best season of his budding career and is on the cusp of Kangaroos selection for the World Cup in England next month.
The bustling backrower was asked on NRL 360 if Cleary will be targeted by Parramatta enforcer Nathan Brown – who has earned a recall for the decider.
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“If we do our job correctly, everyone is going to be a headache for Nathan Cleary,” Lane said.
“He’s obviously a huge part of their game plan and his kicking game speaks for itself, in the first game we really struggled putting kick pressure on him and it came up with plenty of results for them.
“It’ll be a whole team focus for us, not just for Browny.”
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The Maroons were able to shut down Blues halfback Cleary as they staged a stunning State of Origin series win this year.
NRL 360 host Paul Kent asked Lane if Parramatta would be following the same blueprint at Accor Stadium on Sunday night.
“I don’t think it’s a secret, I think it’s every teams game plan going up against Penrith, that’s a huge part of their strength as a team,” Lane said.
“How they play on the back of his kicking game and how much of a strength it is and all the opportunities it creates for them when he is able to execute.
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“And teams that can execute their kick pressure effectively, like Queensland, they’re the teams that have the best success against him.”
Lane also told the panel it was “shortsighted” to say the Eels premiership window will at the end of the season when several star players depart.
Reed Mahoney (Bulldogs), Isaiah Papali’i (Wests Tigers) and Marata Niukore (Warriors) will all play their final game for the club on Sunday.
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