World News – UA – ‘Really tough for our family’: how a low year for the Clearys led to the top of a grand final


When Ivan Cleary returned to coach the Panthers in 2019 after being sacked four years earlier, many thought the coach wanted his chance at redemption

Nathan Cleary and his father Ivan after the Penrith Panthers game against South Sydney Rabbitohs last week Credit: NRL Photos

Ahead of Sunday’s game, Ms Cleary spoke about the ‘roller coaster’ that led the family to the grand finale

Speaking candidly about last year’s disaster season, as well as the infamous TikTok incident that showed her star half-back breaking restrictions at the start of the pandemic, Ms Cleary said it was a « dream come true » to see Ivan and Nathan happy after a dark time for the family

« It’s so nice to see the success of the boys, especially after what they went through last year and what Ivan went through, » she said

Coach of the Tigers in 2018, M Cleary guided the club to ninth place before cutting his two-year contract short, wishing to return to the Panthers to coach his son

The coach has received a lot of criticism for shortening his tenure with Tigers general manager Justin Pascoe very critical of the decision

When the 49-year-old returned to the foot of the mountains, criticism only intensified as the side struggled

The Panthers started the season with eight losses in their first ten games The team finished in 10th place and missed the final for the first time since 2015

“It was really tough on our family,” Ms. Cleary said. “Ivan called and was criticized for it, but in the end it was something he believed in

« There was a pic I saw the other day of them snuggling up and smiling, it just makes my eyes cry because that’s what it is and it is what they wanted to happen « 

« Ivan and I were talking about it the other day, » she said « He first played in a grand final, then nine years later he coached a grand final and nine years later he resulted in another grand finale, so I don’t know for those nine years But there is something « 

Last week Peter V’landys sang the praises of younger Cleary for how he bounced back from the incident, stating that a « lesser person » would have collapsed under the pressure

Cleary was suspended for two games and fined $ 1,000 by police after a group of women visited his home during the height of the pandemic

The player lied to the NRL integrity unit about how long the group stayed at home after one of the visitors uploaded a TikTok dance to social media

“It’s absolutely lovely of her and I totally agree,” Ms. Cleary said of V’landys’ comments “As a mum it always hurts when you see stuff like that

« In the end, he’s only 22 at that age, you sometimes make mistakes, but as long as you can learn from it and become a better person, that’s all a mother is. might ask « 

In fact, Ms. Cleary wholeheartedly believes that Nathan is growing up and that seeing his father dealing with criticism gave him the strength to deal with the noise outside.

“Last year everything that was going on with Ivan, which probably gave him some resilience,” she said. “He’s probably gotten really tough and he’s helped himself out a lot this year, which I think contributed to his development and way of thinking

« It helped him develop and become the person he is and be able to get through that hiccup in life »

At home watching the ceremony with Nathan’s three siblings on TV, the suspense was quickly spoiled after the Daily Telegraph accidentally released the winners early

Nathan’s parents knew it but he was kept in the dark Jack Wighton was crowned the winner, although Nathan was a standout favorite

« We just thought it was a joke, when you saw that [the result] was all over there, » she said « But kudos to Jack he deserves it, it’s probably a shame at least , he was kept away from the boys « 

Ivan coached the New Zealand Warriors to the 2011 NRL Grand Final against Manly, before the team lost 24-10 The pandemic completely changed the way the big last week usually plays out, says -she

With her son living out of the house, she has barely been able to spend time with him this season, let alone this week, due to bubble restrictions in the NRL

“It’s a whole different look than it was when we were there before,” she said “We live in Newport, Ivan me and the three other kids and my daughter’s boyfriend, but we spent a lot of time in Penrith this week it’s good to be a part of it « 

Ms Cleary says looking back five years ago when Ivan left the club – she could never have imagined where they are now in 2020

“Until the opportunity presents itself, I don’t think we probably thought that would happen,” she said. “But I’m super excited that it does” For me, after what we experienced last year, football is a roller coaster

« It was pretty low last year and being so high this year just believing, having the confidence you think they can’t lose »

Just to make a chaotic month even crazier for the family, the couple recently opened their own local business in Newport

Ivan and Rebecca launched a Pinot and Picasso art workshop last Friday ahead of the summer months, where people attend a painting workshop while drinking wine The couple decided to start the business after having attended one of the workshops before COVID-19

Ivan hung his wife’s painting in his office, but Ms. Cleary says Ivan is a « much better » artist than she

« It was pretty crazy because we only pitched on Friday and then the boys won » she said « There weren’t any here and I loved the concept and it’s fun « 

Penrith Panthers, Ivan Cleary, Sydney Roosters, Wests Tigers, Craig Gower, National Rugby League, Nathan Cleary

World News – UA – “Really tough for our family”: how a trough year for the Clearys led to the top of a grand finale



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