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Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary.

Bankwest Stadium's cheeky play of the TikTok song that landed Nathan Cleary in hot water last month might've been sold as pure coincidence but the Panthers playmaker says it was what came next that he noticed more.

Cleary made a solid return for Penrith after serving an NRL-imposed two-week suspension for his role in a breach of social distancing during the competition's shutdown period in April.

While the 22-year-old was adamant he was not being aware the song (The Weeknd's Blinding Lights) was blasting through the speakers at the near-empty western Sydney venue as he lined up his first conversion of the night, some heckling from the 507 pro-Eels crowd in attendance made up for it.

"I didn't notice that but the second kick I had Parramatta supporters yelling out 'TikTok' the whole time and that sent a tingle down my spine," Cleary said.

"I don't like hearing that anymore but it is what it is."

Match Highlights: Eels v Panthers

Asked if he expected the jabs from the opposing fans to continue as more are welcomed back to venues in the coming months, Cleary said: "Yeah, I guess so, I think everyone's always trying to find things to ridicule people with.

"There's always people trying to find a negative but it's no different to anything I haven't dealt with in the past. I was itching to go the last three weeks so it was good to get out there.

"I think anyone feels like that when they're suspended especially with the irresponsible actions I had.

"I'll always put in for the boys and try to make up for that. Obviously a disappointing result but it was a fun game and good to be back out there."

Cleary's position in both the Panthers' leadership group and NSW Origin side were also in question during the tumultuous period after he was fined $30,000 for misleading the NRL during their investigations.

"I do have to mature, what I did definitely wasn't good enough but I've moved past that now and don't want any more slip-ups in the future," he said.

"[Leadership] is definitely something I want to keep, this could almost be a building block for me to move forward, past this and become better as not only a person but a leader.

"That's what I want to do and on the field, I'm always going to be a leader with the number seven on my back. I feel I've got a fair way to go. Leadership's tough and I'm working hard at it."

As for the rest of Cleary's on-field efforts against the Eels, he felt the new rule changes would suit him the more he became accustomed to them.

"I thought I did alright but there are definitely a few areas I can get better at and adapt to," he said.

"It was easier to get over the advantage line and there's not always people coming at you. It's around the ruck area there we can work on a few different combinations and push off each other with Api out of dummy half."

Who partners Cleary in the halves for upcoming clashes against the Storm, Rabbitohs and Wests Tigers is a selection dilemma he'll leave to coach Ivan.

Cleary's housemate Tyrone May is due back from NRL suspension in round seven, while Jarome Luai and Matt Burton continue to push each other for the five-eighth spot.

"I think it's a pretty good dilemma," Cleary said.

"They all bring something to the team and I think with the game as it is you could almost fit everyone in the team because you need those fresh legs coming off the bench and niftiness around the ruck.

"It doesn't get any easier, Melbourne are another benchmark like Parramatta were."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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