Ivan Cleary delights in Penrith’s ‘discipline’ after reigning NRL Premiers stormed past Manly in Round 1 opener as boss racks up his 100th NRL win as Panthers coach
Ivan Cleary has hailed his side’s ‘discipline’ after Penrith stormed past Manly Sea Eagles as the Panthers boss celebrated his 100th win as a coach.
The reigning Premiers dispelled any doubts about a potential hangover from last year’s triumph with an emphatic 28-6 victory over Des Hasler’s side, made all the more impressive given the fact they were without Nathan Cleary.
The Panthers have a target on their back after last year’s exploits, but Cleary’s side were more than happy to set the pace with a blistering 80-minute performance against Manly, considered one of their strongest rivals.
Ivan Cleary has hailed his side’s ‘discipline’ after Penrith stormed past Manly on Thursday
The reigning Premiers set the pace for their title defence with a dominant victory in Round 1
Pre-match, Penrith boss Cleary said his side had put together an extensive blueprint on how to combat the threat of Dally M winner Tom Trbojevic and after the game he credited his group for ‘sticking to the plan’.
“[I was happy] with our discipline and sticking to the plan,’ the stoked coach said. ‘We missed one minute before half-time but other than that I thought we did just what we wanted to.
‘There were things in attack we could improve at and you expect that anyway, you don’t expect your best game in round one. Defensively I thought we were really good and every player did a job.’
Cleary paid credit to his group for ‘sticking to the plan’ in keeping Tom Trbojevic at bay
Thursday’s win was Cleary’s 100th as Panthers boss. He boasts an impressive 73 per cent win record since returning for his second stint and won the Premiership last year
Thursday night’s win also saw Cleary reach a personal milestone, with the Panthers boss racking up his 100th victory as coach of the club.
The 51-year-old is enjoying a sensational second spell at Penrith, having won 45 of his 98 games in charge – a win percentage of 46 – during his first stint from 2012-2015.
Since returning to the club in 2019, Cleary has won 55 of his 75 games, amassing a superb win percentage of 73.
The Panthers return to action next Friday night when they take on the Dragons at the Jubilee Oval. St George Illawarra have been backed as this season’s dark horse, so Cleary will be eager to send another strong message to the comp.