Lang on League: Only one choice for 2021 skipper

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It’s time to anoint superstar halfback Nathan Cleary as sole captain of the Panthers in 2021. I think he more than has the credentials and experience to do the job for a very long time.

At the start of the 2021 season, Cleary will be 23-years-old, entering his sixth season of first grade and will have nearly 100 first grade games under his belt. He’s also played halfback for NSW in two winning State of Origins series and played for Penrith in four Finals Series (the fourth possibly ending in a Premiership).

Cleary’s been the team’s leader on the field this year and has helped steer the club to, at the time of writing, a record 11 wins in a row.
Cleary is also a clutch player with an icy cool on-field temperament and he has the respect of not only his teammates but opposition players as well.

Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary. Photo: Megan Dunn.

Now if the only argument against Cleary being made captain is that he’s done some immature things off the field, including a terrible TikTok video, then you’ve got to come up with something better than that.

I won’t name names but I’m sure we all know there have been other successful club captains who are revered but have done sillier things off the field (and on) than Cleary.

Put simply, Nathan Cleary needs to be appointed Panthers captain in 2021.

Enough said.

What caught my eye last week…

The commentary of FOX League colour commentator Braith Anasta. I tell you this bloke just keeps getting better and better with his one-liners and insights into the game. Look out Ray “Rabs” Warren, Anasta’s commentary is simply ‘Briath-taking’!

What game I’m looking forward to…

Canberra taking on the Sydney Roosters is the pick of the round simply because it’s the game where the human headline, Sonny Bill Williams, will make his long awaited return to the NRL after six years. The thought of SBW taking the ball up and being crunched by the Raiders forwards holds great appeal to me. This game is also another Grand Final re-match, with both sides battling for a spot in the all-important top four.

My tips for the week…

Panthers, Knights, Storm, Titans, Sea Eagles, Roosters, Eels, Dragons.

The final word…

This whole ‘no-fault stand down’ policy the NRL brought in a few years ago needs to be reviewed. Dragons backrower Jack De Belin has spent two years out of the game while waiting for his case to be heard and it could be another six to 12 months before a final verdict is delivered.

Now I’m sure when the NRL introduced this rule it did not take into account the amount of time it takes for the legal system to deliver a final verdict. Don’t get me wrong, I in no way endorse what De Belin has been accused of and, if found guilty, may the full force of the law come down upon him.

But what if he’s found not guilty?

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