Cleary returns to guide Penrith to convincing win over Dragons in Brisbane

Penrith celebrate a try against the Dragons. Photo: NRL Photos.
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Penrith has locked in a top three finish after downing St George-Illawarra 34-16 at Suncorp Stadium.

Nathan Cleary made a strong return for Penrith as everything started to fall back into place – despite an error-riddled start, they eventually put the foot down to put the Dragons away.

St George-Illawarra had all the early ball but the game changed when Brent Naden scored a runaway intercept try in the 13th minute.

Brent Naden grabbed a double. Photo: NRL Photos.

Penrith took a 16-6 lead into half-time and started the second half strongly, Dylan Edwards and Matt Burton grabbing quick tries to put the Panthers in a commanding position.

While Penrith’s error rate wouldn’t have pleased coach Ivan Cleary, he’d be happy that the side looked much more organised with son Nathan in control.

“It makes a big different when you have an elite halfback. There’s not many around so it definitely makes a difference to the way your team functions and how everyone connects,” he said post-match.

“There were some good things about today but plenty we need to work on.”

Nathan Cleary returned for Penrith. Photo: NRL Photos.

Nathan Cleary said he felt he came through the came well.

“The shoulder’s actually really good. I made a few tackles early with it and that got me a lot of confidence,” he said.

“Early on I felt they were targeting me a bit but I got confidence out of it.”

Cleary was among Penrith’s best, but fullback Dylan Edwards produced one of his best games of the season – scoring two tries on his way to a man of the match performance.

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