“Significant injury”: Coach reveals Cleary concern

Nathan Cleary leaves the field in the first half against the Dragons. Photo: NRL Images.
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Penrith co-captain Nathan Cleary will have scans on his injured hamstring tomorrow but is “very unlikely” to play in Origin II according to coach Ivan Cleary.

The halfback went down in the opening half of Penrith’s 26-18 win over St George-Illawarra at BlueBet Stadium tonight.

He reeled out of a tackle limping and tried to stay on the field before eventually leaving with the assistance of a trainer.

“We’re going to be without him for a while,” coach Cleary said.

“I’m not a doctor but it’s a significant injury. He’ll get scanned tomorrow and we will know more then.”

Nathan Cleary struggles with the injury. Photo: NRL Images.

Asked if he thought the Blues playmaker was a chance of playing in Origin II, Cleary said: “I think he’s very unlikely.”

Ironically, the Panthers went into the game with back-up half Jack Cogger on the bench for the first time this season.

The coach was likely planning to rest either Cleary or Jarome Luai if the game allowed, but Cogger ended up playing a crucial role in guiding Penrith to a win.

Cleary watched the remainder of the match from the bench.

Cleary’s Blues teammate Isaah Yeo said he felt for his fellow co-captain.

“I’m disappointed for him. He loves playing football and for Penrith he’s a key factor in us performing well, same as Origin,” he said.

Nathan Cleary watches on from the sideline. Photo: NRL Images.

More than 16,000 fans turned out at BlueBet Stadium to watch Penrith return to the top of the ladder with an eight-point win.

The scores were level at 12-all at the break and while the second half was an arm wrestle, Penrith’s experience won out in the end.

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