Nathan Cleary’s big chance to finally dominate on the Origin stage

NSW halfback Nathan Cleary has been challenged to step up and put his “stamp” on the Origin arena after failing to dominate the game‘s biggest stage in the past.

That’s the opinion of Panthers and NSW legend Ryan Girdler, who wants Cleary to prove his worth as the game’s premier No.7.

The Panthers maestro has been majestic on the NRL stage, but he has produced mixed performances in Origin with four wins and four losses.

“Even though Nathan has been there for three series, he probably hasn’t stamped Origin the way he would have liked to,” Girdler said.

“But here is his opportunity with a lot of his club teammates out there to really go out there and put his stamp on Origin.”

Nathan Cleary is heading into this year’s Origin series in career-best form. Picture: Tim Hunter.Source:News Corp Australia

Girdler believes Penrith stars Cleary, Jarome Luai and Isaah Yeo can also become the Blues’ core for the next decade if they dominate in Origin 1.

The trio have been the key to the Panthers’ record run of 12 straight wins to start this season and 15 straight home victories.

Girdler now wants Cleary, Luai and Yeo to excel on the Origin stage.

“It is a new wave coming through with those guys coming up, and now it is about Freddie being able to get the best out of them at that Origin level,” he said.

“You will always be rewarded if you have club form they’ve had. Some of those key combinations, especially with Nathan, Jarome and Isaah, so getting the ball where it needs to go won’t be a problem for those guys because they do it regularly in the NRL.

“It has been an incredible couple of years for the whole organisation and an incredible acknowledgment.”

Isaah Yeo is expected to excel for the Blues in Origin after starring for the Panthers. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

Girdler nominated Yeo as a major player in Cleary and Luai’s success in the halves, especially from a composure perspective.

“Isaah is such an important cog,” he said.

“He has really found his home in the middle for Penrith this year, and he allows those guys (Cleary and Luai) to play with a lot more width.

“He has got such great timing and his skills around his ball playing around the ruck also takes a lot of pressure off.

“He is also a really damaging runner, and I think Freddie has really got it right when he kept Isaah, Nathan and Jarome together for the Blues.”

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