“Ready to take that next step”: Cleary opens up on Mavrik Geyer debut

Mavrik Geyer playing NSW Cup. Photo: NRL Photos.
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It’s the debut Penrith fans have been eagerly anticipating for years – Mavrik Geyer, the son of Panthers legend Mark Geyer and the nephew of former premiership-winning captain Greg Alexander, will make his NRL debut for his hometown club on Thursday.

The 23-year-old backrower will wear jumper #17 during Penrith’s Round 4 blockbuster clash against the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium.

The Weekender understands a bus loaded with Geyer’s family and friends has been booked to transport everyone to Moore Park for the momentous occasion.

Speaking with the media on Tuesday afternoon, Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said he delivered the life changing news to Geyer over the weekend.

“Mav will make his debut, so that’s pretty cool,” he confirmed.

“It’s an exciting time for him and his family. He’s been very patient. He’s really knuckled down over the last couple of years, he’s worked very hard for this, and I think he’s ready.”

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary. Photo: Melinda Jane.

Geyer has been on the cusp of a NRL debut since last year when he joined Penrith’s top 30 squad. After a stunning pre-season, Cleary had no choice but to blood the youngster off the back of a recent knee injury to Scott Sorensen.

“Mav’s a very popular member of our squad, so all the boys are really pumped for him,” Cleary said.

“He’s a big lad, Mav. He’s physically developed nicely. He’s a bit of a late bloomer. He didn’t get serious about his footy until three years ago. He’s been playing well at Cup level and has been training really well too.

“This pre-season, he was outstanding. He’s ready now to take that next step.”

The extended Geyer family are said to be over the moon with the news that the former St Dominic’s College student will finally get to don the famous Panthers jersey, just like his father and uncle.

“It’s clearly a big day for those guys and for the fans,” Cleary said.

“Mav’s a second-generation player but a premiership player in MG and a club legend.

“It’s a hugely proud moment for any parent when their son or daughter makes their debut and I’m sure it’s the same for the Geyer family.”
Panthers forward Liam Martin couldn’t contain his excitement when Extra Time asked him about Geyer’s impending NRL debut.

“I’m so excited… everyone loves Mav,” he said.

“He’s just the best guy and seeing him get his opportunity, it’s going to be really exciting.

“He’s already asking everybody for tickets, and I think half of Penrith will be at Allianz Stadium.”

Mavrik Geyer playing NSW Cup. Photo: NRL Photos.

The Weekender understands Geyer’s famous father Mark and his uncle “Brandy” will be there to present him his debut jersey.

“Mav’s the perfect example of biding his time and working hard off the field,” Martin said.

“This pre-season has been his best by far and he’s probably the best trainer we’ve had over the summer. He’s worked hard and deserves every bit of it.”

Meanwhile, Cleary has confirmed his son Nathan will miss some time following a minor hamstring injury suffered in Penrith’s big win over Brisbane.

“Nat seems to have a sabbatical every year, so this one’s a bit earlier,” he said.

“I knew about it (the injury) as soon as it happened. It’s not too bad, so that’s the pleasing thing.

Nathan Cleary in action against the Eels. Photo: Megan Dunn.

“He might actually be able to play next week [vs Manly], but with a bye coming up the following week, we’ll just see how he goes and make an educated decision next week.”

Former Canberra Raiders and Hull KR half Brad Schneider will fill in for Cleary during his absence alongside Jarome Luai.

Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is the Weekender's Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for a decade.

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