The most talked about shoulder in rugby league has helped guide Penrith to its historic third title.
It may not go down in rugby league folklore like John Sattler’s broken jaw or Sam Burgess’ heroics but Nathan Cleary’s bravery has been instrumental in Penrith winning the Premiership.
There were fears he was gone for the season after suffering the injury in Origin II. Penrith’s Premiership hopes would have gone with it.
But surgeons developed a plan to allow Cleary to rehab the injury and manage it through the season – knowing it could all fall apart at any minute, with immediate surgery required.
The 23-year-old will face surgery in the off-season but first comes a party with his closest mates after the victory over South Sydney.
Making the win even more special is that he did alongside his father and coach Ivan – the second father-son combination at Penrith to win the title, following in the footsteps of John and Martin Lang.
With Origin series wins and now a Premiership under his belt all before his 24th birthday, Cleary has established himself as one of the game’s most elite players.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Senior Writer. He has more than 15 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations.