HomeRugbyNRLThe Ivan Cleary speech that had Penrith Panthers running through brick walls

The Ivan Cleary speech that had Penrith Panthers running through brick walls

Cleary’s speech, in the bowels of Penrith’s team hotel, features no ranting or raving, no chest-beating, tear-jerking or rugby league epiphanies.

Instead, he speaks of the club’s storied rivalry with Melbourne, forged in a 2020 grand final ambush; his respect for Craig Bellamy and how the Panthers push past them to a fourth straight decider.

Dynasty: The Clearys after the 2023 grand final.Credit: NRL Photos

“The wheel has turned,” Cleary tells his players. “Are they more dangerous now because they’re the underdog? You’ve still got to find the fire to take these blokes on. Because they will have it. It is so important for us to trust what we do. What’s got us here. How we prepare. How we play.

“The only way we can fail is by not facing your fears and taking them head on. And accelerating in those times when you’re doubting yourself, looking at the scoreboard, worrying about an injury or fatigue or whatever. Face it head on – you can’t fail if you do that.”

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