The Roar
The Roar

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Penrith shake things up as Brian To'o eyes Origin

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Replay
Cancel
Next
15th April, 2021
8

Penrith debuted a more civilised try celebration as winger Brian To’o did his best to defuse constant aerial threats in their 20-12 defeat of Brisbane.

Ivan Cleary wouldn’t describe his Penrith side as tall poppies, but maybe others might – and that’s why they’re coming in for criticism now for things the coach says they’ve been doing for the last three NRL seasons.

The Panthers escaped with a 20-12 win over a much-improved Brisbane on Thursday night, capping a week in which they were labelled cocky and arrogant after a try celebration sparked a scuffle against Canberra.

They were cheeky in their response at Suncorp Stadium, Matt Burton celebrating his first-half try by politely shaking the hands of teammates Brian To’o and Jerome Luai.

It was their 23nd win from their last 24 games, the only loss coming in the grand final to Melbourne.

Cleary, who is adamant his men are “exuberant” but respectful, said that record probably has something to do with the backlash.

“Our boys have been pretty much doing the same thing for 18 months and everyone loved us,” he said.

“We’ve gone through the honeymoon period and now with success people view us differently, maybe.

“We’re exuberant young men who love playing footy…we don’t call ourselves tall poppies, but maybe others are and that’s a bit of kudos to our boys.

Advertisement
Advertisement

“(In regards to the handshake celebration) you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t – but people like to see players with a bit of character.”

He said son Nathan’s obsessive post-training field goal practice – and general experience in clutch, late-game moments – had paid off as he slotted a two-point shot to break the deadlock.

And he also credited in-form winger To’o as Origin-ready.

To’o fumbled on several occasions but was resilient under constant examination to finish with a game-high 275 run metres.

“I think he would be (a good Origin selection); he’s been phenomenal for us, week in, week out. He just carries the team,” Cleary said.

“To put someone in front of him, he’d have to be a pretty good player.

“He’s a mentally strong kid, hasn’t just got the physical part…he’s a beauty.”

© AAP