Whare credits Cleary for world class status
Named in the World XIII after a brilliant season with the Panthers and a terrific Four Nations-winning campaign with the Kiwis, centre Dean Whare credits Penrith coach Ivan Cleary for helping him become a more complete player.
The exciting three-quarter has not missed a game for Penrith since arriving at the foot of the mountains in 2013 and told NRL.com that having Cleary in his corner has contributed to him having a greater presence on the world stage.
Whare believes the highly respected coach has helped him become more patient with his on-field actions and decision making.
"I was guilty there of pushing passes and playing my hand at the wrong time," Whare told NRL.com.
"I think growing older and also with Ivan's guidance, being patient with the ball is one of my main attributes at the moment, being able to pick the right passes and the right plays at the right time.
"Coming into the New Zealand team you play with plenty of boys who you're not sure how they play, so having that patience and that experience allows me to keep being competitive and confident."
It is why Whare isn't going anywhere any time soon.
Despite signing a three-year contract extension with the Panthers in late 2013, the rugby league rumour mill went into overdrive last year suggesting Whare was set to link with reigning premiers South Sydney after they had lost Kirisome Auva'a for the majority of the 2015 season.
It's a rumour that Whare was quick to dispel, adding he has plans to move out west at some point in 2015.
"I've never heard anything or been in contact with any other club about going to another team. I think everyone here at the club realises that I'll be here for a long time," Whare said.
"I'm enjoying my time here. Everything is going good and re-signing was a big thing for myself and my family.
"I'm definitely committed to the Panthers and looking forward to the next three years."
Whare has spent the past two months recovering from a foot injury suffered in the Four Nations final and the former Sea Eagle has plenty on his plate with various rookies coming through the Panthers ranks.
While he and Jamal Idris will be Penrith's first choice centre combination, Whare is well aware of the challenges posed by a young trio of centres in Isaah Yeo, George Jennings and Waqa Blake.
"We have a lot of young fellas coming through and trying to make positions their own in first grade so it helps us older fellas to keep competing against them and continue to cement our own spots," said Whare, who will turn 25 on January 22.
"I think it motivates everyone to try and be at their best each week. You can't slacken off because you'll always have a young fella behind you trying to take your spot."
With the Panthers likely to be met with great expectations by fans and critics alike after such a successful 2014 season, such depth may well be the key for the likes of Whare to keep putting in the hard yards for the long season ahead.