Are the Cleary’s overrated?
Author: Penny Farthing
Before I get started I must remind you that text does not convey tone all that well. I do not revel in others failures or lack of success (accept QLD’s). Sometime you just have to call it as you see it. Ivan and Nathan Cleary have to be the most overrated player coach combo in the comp don’t they?
The pre-season was dripping in enough romanticised Cleary rhetoric to give even the oldest Panther’s fan an erection. Sadly the season thus far has been as flaccid as it gets.
Let’s start with Nathan. On a big biccy contract – close to $1 million biccys a season in fact. Discussions around the young kid with the great chin were decorated in vague hyperbole, “He’s an out and out footballer this kid”, “Sky’s the limit”.
It was hard not to be swept up in the excitement of it all. With the confidence of a career analyst you’d regurgitate all the shit you heard Kenty say on NRL 360 that week, passing off the knowledge as your own, “This kid could be anything! He dominated in Under 20’s.” “I’m hearing he’s way better than his dad”.
Many a career has lived and died in the U20 and to Nathan’s credit he’s undoubtably made the grade at NRL level. He’s a first grade quality footballer. That’s not the point. Has he consistently churned out performanced befitting of his hefty biccy stack?
I would say no.
“But he played Origin! The blues won the series”!
Look yes, Nathan did play in and win an Origin series for NSW and for that he will always hold a special place in my heart. But if we can have an honesty session here, be real honest with ourselves. He didn’t do much.. Not as a playmaker in one of the 2 best sides the NRL could assemble. He made his tackles. Tackled the house down in fact. But as a representative playmaker he did little.
Now to the old man – Ivan. Ive has been knocking about the Greatest Game of All, first as a play and now a coach for almost 30 years . No mean feat.
To this point he’s coached the Warriors, the Panthers, Tigers and Panthers.
In 2011 his Warriors side made and lost the Grand Final to that immortal Manly Sea Eagles team.
Outside of that Phil Gould sacked him from the Panthers for looking ‘Tired’, he then signed on to coach the Tigers, before bailing after one season to coach the Panthers again, beating out the greatest coach of all time in Wayne Bennett for the top job. He wont admit it but Phil Gould quit the club due to a broken heart. He wanted Wayne bad. Real bad.
Now I’m sure Ivan’s made and missed out on his fair share of Top 8s and finals matches over his coaching career (I ask that you DYOR these specifics yourself). I’m also not saying he’s a shit coach. He’s just not that good either. What I am saying is that, similar to his boy Nath, his performances as a coach are not congruent with his biccys.
Making a Grand Final is no mean feat. But making one with the Warriors is also kind of like winning big on the pokies and calling it skill.
Not saying the Cleary’s are bad. Just asking if we can entertain the possibility that maybe they are a little overrated.