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'It was a rush for me' - Cleary's donor act sends message

Behind the whirlwind press conference with Ivan Cleary talking about Friday's clash with his former club, a far greater message was being told.

The Panthers have used the week leading into their much-anticipated round four clash against the Wests Tigers to help raise awareness about organ donation after coach Cleary made the decision to donate a kidney to brother Ash in 2017.

Ash underwent a transplant procedure in October 2017 and both he and Ivan made a full recovery from surgery.

Ivan was beaming on Thursday, happy to see his brother "standing with a bit of colour back in his face."

"My brother and I don't really want to go around talking about it," Ivan said on Thursday.

"It's obviously a big deal and when he was sick at the time, all you want is someone you love to feel better. It's pretty emotional, a good experience but an exciting one.

"I found it a real rush me for to do that and it uplifted me. It was a cool thing for me to do.

Ivan Cleary speaks ahead of Wests Tigers clash

"I had to be careful how many beers I had early on but I'm all good now."

DonateLife will have a marquee at Panthers Stadium on Friday where fans can learn more about organ donation and add their name to the Australian Organ Donor Register.

Only one in three people have joined the Australian Donor Register despite 70 per cent of the population showing an interest in becoming an organ donor.

Cleary spoke to the Panthers' playing group earlier in the week and co-captain James Maloney was caught unaware by the statistics.

Ivan Cleary reflects on donating life to brother Ash

"The biggest thing we took out it was ticking to be a donor on a driver's licence doesn't necessarily mean you're a donor. Only 35% are registered," Maloney said.

"It's an important thing, you never know when someone close to you may need to have their life saved or the help you can offer someone else.

"It puts a lot of things into perspective. It's something close to him and this club is supportive of the cause. Hopefully some people can register at the game."

Panthers winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak paid tribute to the coach, who has acted as a father figure throughout the Kiwi captain's career since making his NRL debut in 2014.

"Everyone knows how much respect I have for Ivan," Watene-Zelezniak said.

"My brother and I would do the same for family. He's a family man, would do anything for his family and we're lucky to have him.

Panthers v Wests Tigers - Round 4

"You go to talk to him about anything, off the field he wants to know about your family and how they're going and making sure everything off the field is good."

Cleary hopes to put a wider challenge out to NRL clubs, seeing which team's fans will register most to become official donors in the future.

"That would be cool," he said.

To find out more about organ donating, visit

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