The saga went on for what seemed like an age but it can be laid to rest, with Nathan Cleary today re-signing with the Penrith Panthers.
Ultimately, it came down to where Cleary felt most comfortable with and that was Penrith.
“I’m excited to re-sign with the Panthers and commit the next six years of my career to the club,” Cleary said of his new 5-year deal.
“There was always going to be speculation but in the end it was an easy decision for me to make.
“This club and this community mean a lot to me.
“Panthers gave me the opportunity to debut as an 18-year-old and I will always hold that close to my heart.”
Cleary is determined to become not only a great leader but to help his side win a premiership.
“I’ve grown up with this team and I couldn’t ask for a better group of players and coaches to work with moving forward,” the young halfback continued.
“I want to become a leader here at the Panthers and I’m determined to help deliver a premiership to Penrith.”
The club itself is thrilled to have their star retained long-term.
“Today is a very special day in our club’s history,” Panthers Executive General Manager Phil Gould AM said.
“Everyone at Panthers is delighted to know Nathan Cleary has committed to this club until at least the end of the 2024 season.
“This is a significant contract for Nathan but it’s also a major investment by Panthers in its own future as an NRL club, and it’s an important signing for the future of rugby league in Western Sydney.”
Gould believes that Cleary’s best footy is still ahead of him and future captain material.
“Nathan is an outstanding young man and I have no doubt he will be a future captain of this club,” continued Gould.
“His best football is still well in front of him and we believe he will be the face of rugby league in this region for many years to come.
“To sign a deal of this significance with a player we have seen develop through our own pathways system, from a young age, is a special moment indeed.”