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A day visit to Richmond Tigers headquarters has acted as a catalyst to Nathan Cleary's improved kicking game after meeting with the defending AFL premiers in February.

Cleary's father Ivan revealed that his son's quick trip to Melbourne following the team's NRL Nines tournament exit in the pre-season could be a reason why he's taken his long kicking game to a new level.

The 22-year-old is averaging an incredible 519.96 kicking metres per game in 2020 – a career-high and more than double his average per game compared to the last two seasons.

"(Panthers head of performance) Hayden Knowles teed it up as he knew someone down there," Cleary said.

"It was a super cool day and they're obviously so successful. I got to watch them train and then one of their kicking coaches was having a chat with me.

"It was more about longer kicks and I said to him you can't really kick some too hard [in league, due to the seven-tackle set rule].

"You take little subtle things away and try to integrate that in the pre-season. I think that, along with confidence, is a big aspect of my kicking game this year."

Martin flies above the pack

With aspirations to become Penrith's captain in the future, Cleary also met with Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin, who shared his knowledge around leading one of the AFL's most successful clubs.

"It was more about getting to meet Trent and learn about leadership," Cleary said.

"I think any time you can talk to someone, especially a good leader, you take it on board.

"I think it was good to source someone outside of rugby league as well."

While Cleary nailed a fourth 40/20 of the season on Friday night against the Eels, it's unlikely he'll attempt a 20/40 any time soon.

No player has kicked a 20/40 since the rule was introduced this season, although Broncos playmaker Anthony Milford would've been the first if not for an incorrect call from touch judge Belinda Sharpe in round five.

"It's hard to judge," Cleary said.

"It's risky but it's more when you're stuck in your own end you take it."

Thankfully for Cleary, the Panthers are yet to find themselves in a position where their chief playmaker is forced into taking any risks.

Instead they are set to clinch the minor premiership with a win against the Cowboys next Friday night.

"I thought we were creating opportunities which gave us a lot of confidence," Cleary said of the performance against the Eels.

"It was frustrating at times when we couldn't find the last pass or dropped it over the line. There are definitely things we can work on for sure and we'll work on that going into North Queensland.

"We find positives and negatives in every game we play."

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