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Nathan Cleary expects a barrage of kick pressure to come his way ahead of his return to Ampol State of Origin after enduring a frustrating night against the Cowboys.

Cleary was on the end of a couple of tackles that were cleared by the match officials during the run of play that Panthers coach Ivan Cleary wasn’t happy with after the side’s 22-0 shutout win.

No Cowboys were charged over any incident's from the match.

“I had a view that kick pressure has changed again tonight, because we never, ever get kick pressure penalties," Ivan said in his post-match press conference.

“He (Nathan) was tackled multiple times tonight, late and in the air. Maybe it’s changed, I don’t know.”

Nathan was at his cool and calm best after the game as he prepares to turn his attention to pulling on the Blues jersey for the 11th time in his career on June 8.

Nathan Cleary is pressured by Jordan McLean during the side's win over the Cowboys.
Nathan Cleary is pressured by Jordan McLean during the side's win over the Cowboys. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

The Maroons targeted him heavily in the kick pressure area during the 2020 series but Cleary returned serve and mastered a defence case last year.

“Usually it doesn't matter what happens, if you end up in a dangerous position it is a penalty, but can't complain about it too much,” he said.

“Origin is a beast in itself and there's not too many tic-tac penalties in that. I am fine with that.

“Yeah, [Queensland] have [pressured me]. That's the beast Origin is. It's the hardest stage to play on.

“You just don't get a lot of time. It's something I look forward to. It's a great challenge and something I have to try and combat.”

Both Cleary’s are confident they’ve got the Panthers in a strong position as the club looks set to tackle its second season with Origin players floating in and out of the side in the next two months.

Panthers prodigy Kurt Falls is expected to replace Cleary in the halves next week alongside Sean O’Sullivan.

“I think we're in a really good place,” Nathan said.

“Most of the guys who will come in have had first-grade experience other than Kurt if he gets his shot. I will be that pumped for him. I went to school with Kurt and he has just chipped away.

“He's never been in the limelight, was pretty much in Ron Massey Cup until he got his shot in the big squad last year. He has worked hard and I would love to see him play first grade.

“He knows what he is doing. We pick each other's brains every now and then. The one thing I like about our squad is we are always challenging each other to get better.

“We have a pretty good halves group at the moment.”

Match Highlights: Panthers v Cowboys

The Panthers could have at least eight players representing the club on the Origin stage throughout the series, Cleary believing club combinations will again be a factor this year.

“It's a credit to the club but us as a group that we are able to help each other out as individuals," he said.

"The team is the main priority and I think that's why those combinations help.

“Origin is a pretty different game. It's probably a bit more based around flow footy.”

Acknowledgement of Country

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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