REST IN PEACE: Today is the burial day for the Penrith Panthers key player who died in an….

Penrith Panthers have etched their names into the history books by becoming the first team in the NRL era to claim three successive premierships after mounting a monumental comeback to beat the Broncos 26-24.

The Panthers looked down and out as the Broncos ran riot in the second half, only for Nathan Cleary to produce an all-time display to snatch the win off the back of two try assists and a solo four-pointer.

The Sporting News rates every Panthers player’s performance following Sunday night’s clash below.

Last year’s Clive Churchill Medallist picked up where he left off in 2022 with his usual appetite for work as he clocked over 150 running metres in the first half alone. The No.1 simply didn’t stop as he finished with close to 300 metres in a typical ‘Edwards’ display.

Had a massive final 20 minutes in his last game in a Panthers jersey as he scored a try and produced two forced dropouts with the latter leading to Cleary’s match-winning try. Will head to Belmore with three premiership rings and the rightful claim as the best centre in the game.

Luai exited stage left 50 minutes into the contest after succumbing to a shoulder injury which he carried during the finals series. A quiet night for the Samoan international which was punctuated by boos every time his face was shown on the big screen.

Cleary then came rushing out the line to try and put pressure on Reece Walsh only for the fullback to step past him and send Mam over for his treble.


The Panthers were shot to bits at this stage but then Cleary stepped up to remarkably steal the headlines and the glory.


First, he slipped through the defence before dishing it off to Moses Leota to go in under the posts and make the score 24-14.


Off the next set, he smashed a 40/20 early in the tackle count before later assisting Crichton to score and cut the deficit to four points as he also nailed the sideline conversion.


Cleary then saved the biggest moment for last as he darted his way over from close range to complete an incredible comeback and spark jubilant scenes amongst his teammates as they celebrated the biggest comeback in NRL grand final history.


“It doesn’t feel real at the moment, it feels like a dream,” Cleary told Nine post-match.

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