It will be father versus son – or the battle of the Clearys if you prefer – when Wests Tigers travel to Penrith this Thursday to face the Panthers this Thursday night.
Ivan Cleary, coach of the Tigers and father of young Panthers gun Nathan, admits it won’t be an easy day at the office watching the round 11 match.
As a father, he naturally wants his son to do well.
But as the coach of the team playing his son’s team, well, how would you feel in his position?
Cleary, the coach, has decided a sense of humour may help him get through this ironic situation, saying on Fox Sport’s NRL 360 program last night: “I asked him [Nathan] if he had heard of a halfback who had made 50 tackles in a game.’’
Cleary said he had not necessarily instructed his team to run the ball at his son as much as possible, but “I have a very smart team and they will know what to do’’.
Coach Cleary has just named his side, and after making successful returns from injury last week in the great 20-12 victory against the Cowboys, both Russell Packer and Jacob Liddle will be taking on the Panthers.
At Leichhardt Oval last Thursday night the Tigers returned to their defensive best.
After losing three on the trot the win helps them get their season back on track.
It was their sixth win of the season, which is a huge improvement already on the 2017 and 2016 seasons.
In the only change from last week’s final team Kevin Naiqama replaces Mahe Fonua in the centres for the Panthers clash.
Russell Packer will captain the side against the Panthers.
Wests Tigers NRL v Panthers:
- Corey Thompson
2. David Nofoaluma
3. Esan Marsters
4. Kevin Naiqama
5. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak
6. Benji Marshall
7. Luke Brooks
8. Russell Packer (capt.)
9. Elijah Taylor
10. Ben Matulino
11. Chris Lawrence
12. Robbie Rochow
13. Matt Eisenhuth
14. Alex Twal
15. Jacob Liddle
16. Michael Chee Kam
17. Sauaso Sue
18. Tim Grant
19. Chris McQueen
20. Josh Aloiai
21. Tyson Gamble