Nathan Cleary still happy to cop September tips off old man
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Nathan Cleary still happy to cop September tips off old man

The controversy surrounding his potential return to Penrith has not been enough to convince Ivan Cleary to keep a low profile and stop giving his famous son Nathan some September feedback.

Nathan joked that his father enjoyed a few too many beers and may not have remembered much about last Saturday's elimination final victory over the New Zealand Warriors.

Caretaker Penrith coach Cameron Ciraldo has brought in a steady stream of club greats to help with the players - and he won't mind his star halfback getting some tips from the same man strongly linked to eventually replace him.

Tight: Ivan Cleary gives Nathan a hug after a Panthers game last season.

Tight: Ivan Cleary gives Nathan a hug after a Panthers game last season.

Photo: NRL Photos

"He talks to me after games, about how the game was, and it's pretty cool to have that relationship with my dad,'' Nathan said on Wednesday.

"He was at the game [on Saturday] and watched it and probably got on the beers as well. He probably doesn't remember too much of it.

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"The main thing he was talking about was goalkicking. He told me after the Melbourne game [the previous week] how he had missed five out of six as well, and I gained a bit of confidence from that. He was trying to help me through that.

"He never told me that story beforehand. He only told me stories about how he kicked it from the sidelines to win games.''

Nathan has always been open about taking advice from Ivan, the Wests Tigers coach who will be in the stands at Allianz Stadium on Friday night.

Cleary will wait until the end of the season before making a call on his future beyond 2019.

There are some well-placed types at Penrith who remain confidence Ivan will join him at the foot of the mountains as early as next year, even though he has indicated he will honour the final two years of his deal at the Tigers.

Nathan is playing his third NRL finals campaign and now wants to make a difference rather than simply enjoy the ride.

Playing in his first Origin series has also given him the experience to cope with the pointy end of the year.

"I think playing those big games has definitely helped me, and playing along side Jimmy [Maloney] has helped as well,'' Cleary said.

"The last two years I've maybe fallen into the trap of just being happy to be there and experiencing it.

"This year I want to take it a step further and get [beyond] the second week.

"It won't be easy. The Sharks are a great team."

He said staying patient was the key lesson he took from Origin.

"There are not a lot of points scored in those tight finals games and Origins, and if something doesn't come off the first time, you need to stick with it and trust it will come later in the games when fatigue sets in," he said.

"You don't get as many opportunities, so when they do arise you need to take them with both hands.''

Maloney was in a good mood and could be heard from a distance on a warm sunny afternoon at the foot of the mountains.

A September specialist and two-time premiership winner, Maloney has answered questions all week about the man he swapped clubs with at the end of last season, fellow No.6 Matt Moylan.

One thing he did his best to explain was the perceived hatred between the Shire club and mountain men. Maloney was in the opposition sheds last year when the Sharks players famously chanted ''Three Cheers for Gus'', a direct shot at Gus Gould and his claims Cronulla won a title in a ''soft year''.

"I think there's quite few ex-Penrith boys out there. They've been let go for different reasons, and I suppose guys could have points to prove against old clubs, especially if they've been let go and didn't agree with why they were let go,'' Maloney said.