Panthers star Nathan Cleary wears a “groin nod” in a worrying sign ahead of the state of origin
It could be a worrying sign with State of Origin around the corner that Panthers star and NSW Blues halfback Nathan Cleary failed to take goal kicks in Penrith’s 20-18 loss to the Rabbitohs.
Cleary started the game with compression garments on his legs, a first for Cleary, and another suspected injury was confirmed when teammate Stephen Crichton stepped up to take kicking duties.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Latrell Mitchell throws an incredible flick pass.
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When Penrith scored her first try just before half-time, teammate Crichton surprised everyone and lined up the shot on goal rather than sniper Cleary converting.
Crichton continued to execute on target throughout the game as he finished by taking all of Penrith’s points from three tries, two conversions and a penalty goal.
Queensland Maroons legend Cooper Cronk suggested that Cleary may have carried an injury into the game against the Rabbitohs.
“Nathan doesn’t typically wear compression garments underneath, but he does wear groin straps so he might bring a small injury to the game,” Cronk said in comment.
NSW Blues adviser and Panthers legend Greg Alexander said taking goal kicks could aggravate Cleary’s injury.
“You’d think whatever the problem is, it’s not that bad because he’s playing out there. But kicking might make it worse,” Alexander said.
Cleary’s injury was confirmed early in the second half.
“Some news from the Premiers’ shed is that Nathan Cleary brought just a little groin pain into this game – that’s why we saw Stephen Crichton take that goal kick,” said James Hooper during the commentary.
At the post-match press conference, Penrith manager Ivan Cleary described the injury as a “twitch”.
“He (Nathan Cleary) only had a slight sting on goal yesterday so he didn’t do that,” Cleary said.
Latrell Mitchell starred for the Rabbitohs in a match described as “cruel” by Ivan Cleary.
“Yes, it is a cruel game sometimes. Where do I start?” the Panthers coach said after the game.
“That’s a big question. I don’t know.”
Cleary believed Mitchell’s attempt, when he hit after a rebound from Cody Walker after a kick from Lachlan Ilias, could have gone either way.
“I just thought it would be a bit of the bounce of the ball tonight, I mean the penultimate try was very iffy I would have thought,” Cleary said.
“I thought they (Souths) probably won the big moments tonight.”