Nathan Cleary in 'shattering' truth as Panthers teammate backs vital NRL return

The NRL star's teammate has backed the halfback to silence his doubters.

Nathan Cleary's teammate Isaah Yeo has backed his teammate to return next year and 'silence' his critics at Origin level after the halfback was ruled out with a hamstring injury. Cleary left the NRL in shock when his troublesome hamstring injury forced him out of the match against the Bulldogs last week and subsequently ruling him out of Origin.

Cleary may be the premier halfback when it comes to club footy having steered the Panthers to three straight premierships, but he is yet to dominate the Origin arena. Cleary has a 7-7 record against the Maroons and has been the centre of criticism after the last two losses for the Blues. And many were hoping his NRL grand final masterclass was the catalyst for an Origin revival. While it still may come, it will have to wait for 2025.

Nathan Cleary (pictured) will miss the State of Origin series after a hamstring injury. (Getty Images)
Nathan Cleary (pictured) will miss the State of Origin series after a hamstring injury. (Getty Images)

Yeo is a near certainty to start at lock for the Blues this year, with Cameron Murray injured, and could even captain the side if James Tedesco isn't selected. And Yeo has admitted he feels for Cleary knowing the halfback wanted to 'silence' his critics with an all-time performance for his state to lead them back to glory.

“He was really ready for that (Origin),” Yeo said. “There shouldn’t be doubters, but there obviously are, so it would have been nice to silence them.” Regardless, Yeo has admitted while Cleary will miss an important time of the season he will be back in the lead up to the finals. After some rest, Yeo feels Cleary will come back even stronger and help the Panthers push for a fourth straight premiership.

“I’m super disappointed for him because there’s a big period coming up for him as well,” Yeo said. “The silver lining is that he’ll be back for the back end of the season and we’ve got a lot of time now to get it right, but I’m shattered for him.

“It deflates you and it probably showed a bit in that second half with the whole team. It’s because we see how hard he works and how diligent he is, particularly on the back of an injury and how much work he puts into it, so to see it go again was disappointing.

“The silver lining is we’ve got a lot of time to get it right for the back end of the season, but he’s probably struggling to see that side of it at the moment, particularly with the period that’s coming up. All you can do is rally around him and make sure he’s got support.”

Nathan Cleary reacts.
Nathan Cleary (pictured) will miss the State of Origin series in 2024.

Cleary was out after round three when his hamstring, the opposite of the one he hurt last year, caused him trouble. After returning in round eight he last two games before the halfback limped off against the Bulldogs.


He will be just one of a large number of superstars not taking part in Magic Round this weekend. On Thursday, Reece Walsh was the latest superstar to be ruled out of Magic Round. Kalyn Ponga, Tom Trbojevic, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Shaun Johnson, Adam Reynolds, Mitchell Moses are just some of the other big names missing. Yet Yeo isn't making any excuses and doesn't want the focus to be on injuries. “If you were to think like that then it’s probably more chance of happening,” he said.

“That’s part and parcel of the sport, and injuries can happen in any game in any circumstance. I’d like to have a bit more fortune in that regard leading into it, but sometimes things can’t be helped. It can’t be helped now, and it’s happened to a few players – not just Nath – from both sides. That’s why you pick a 36-man squad at the start of the year. These coaches are too smart.”

with NCA Wire