Nathan Cleary puts up a kick against the Roosters in Round 3.

'Gus' took my kicking game to new heights: Cleary

Roosters pair Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Michael Gordon could be forgiven for waking up in the middle of the night with cold sweats after flashbacks to last weekend's game against the Panthers. 

‌The star duo were peppered at the aptly named Pepper Stadium by bombs from Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary that even the surest outside backs couldn't handle.

His kicks were a thing of beauty, with the spiral bombs swerving through the air, leaving their intended targets with no hope of taking them on the full and often resulting in repeat sets for his side. 

Anyone who has attended Panthers training will know that this was no fluke, with Cleary often spending 10 minutes going through kicking drills after the rest of his teammates have hit the showers or the breakfast buffet. 

While a lot of his technique comes down to preparation, Cleary revealed some of the credit had to go to Panthers General Manager Phil Gould who spent some time in the off-season helping his halfback out on the training paddock.  

"Gus got out there one day and had his input," Cleary said.

"I was a bit shocked actually. He came out one day when I was putting them up and he just gave me a bit of a tip on what to do. I've definitely taken that on board because he's a genius."

Having spent time in the Emerging Blues squad earlier in the year, Cleary said he'd love to learn from State of Origin great Andrew Johns about the finer details of halfback play and how he can add more weapons to his already impressive arsenal.

 


What's scary for opposition back threes is that Cleary thinks his kicking game has room for improvement, with the 19-year-old desperate to back-up Saturday night's exploits on a weekly basis. 

"I don't know if it's perfected yet; it was just one of those lucky nights," he said. 

"I've been working on that during the pre-season. It's something I've wanted to get better at – those floating bombs – and we've got a kicking coach here who's helped us out with that.

"It's pretty cool, but that was only one week and it's a long season so I've got to perfect it to make sure that happens every week. I suppose that's the extras I need to keep putting in."