Interviews the morning after grand final success often deliver the best revelations and Penrith coach Ivan Cleary didn’t disappoint when he walked out of his team’s premiership celebrations at 6am on Monday.
After his son Nathan helped orchestrate the biggest comeback in NRL grand final history, coming from 16 points down to beat the Brisbane Broncos 26-24 in an instant classic at Accor Stadium, the celebrations were always going to be big.
That was obvious when 52-year-old Ivan, now a three-time premiership coach, was confronted by TV cameras and caught in an interview with the Today show’s Karl Stefanovic, a Queenslander.
Given the opportunity, Cleary took the chance for a dig after his team’s miracle comeback.
“Queenslanders kind of fail at the end a lot of the time, so we knew that they (the Broncos) would falter,” Cleary joked.
“That’s a gee-up (Karl) and you know it.
“Nah, halfway through the second half I was like ‘sh*t, get us out of here’, we were in all sorts. I’ve got no idea how we managed to pull that back.”
Cleary gave all the credit for his son Nathan’s second Clive Churchill Medal performance to his mother, Rebecca.
“I actually said to him yesterday that if I’d married someone else he would have been a pretty sh*t player,” the coach joked.
“I‘ve got to thank his mum for everything that he’s got because it’s certainly not from me.
“You know what, he owes me too. I‘ve driven him to that many things, I’ve made lunches for him and done all this stuff.
“But he’s actually now making my life easy, so I love you Nathan. ”