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Cleary jets to Auckland: 'Big future' for latest Warriors signing

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 24 Apr 2024, 2:23pm
Photo / Photosport
Photo / Photosport

Cleary jets to Auckland: 'Big future' for latest Warriors signing

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 24 Apr 2024, 2:23pm

Rising rugby league star Jett Cleary, the younger brother of Penrith Panthers, New South Wales and Kangaroos halfback Nathan, has inked a three-year deal with the Warriors from next season.

The 19-year-old son of former Warriors player and coach Ivan, his rugby league journey has taken him from St Dominic’s College in Penrith and the Panthers’ development teams in the Harold Matthews Cup (under-17) and the SG Ball Cup (under-19).

As well as playing for Penrith’s Harold Matthews and SG Ball teams, Cleary also represented the New South Wales Combined Catholic Colleges at the national schoolboys championships last year.

He was born in Auckland on April 2, 2005, just as Ivan was beginning his role as an assistant coach with the One New Zealand Warriors before becoming head coach in 2006.

Andrew McFadden, the Warriors general manager of recruitment pathways and development, said Cleary brings “wonderful pedigree” with him and great knowledge of the game.

“Jett has a big future in front of him and we’re excited to give him the chance to develop in our system. While he was only young when he left New Zealand to go back to Australia, Jett has the benefit of strong family ties with the club and with Auckland as well.”

Warriors chief executive Cameron George said it was “an exciting time” for the Auckland-based club.

“The Cleary family has the strongest links with our club through Ivan’s time with us and it’s a special thrill to sign Jett and have the Cleary name back with us.

“We’re again truly grateful for the cooperation from Penrith and Ivan in helping to make this possible.”

It comes as the Auckland-based NRL club announced last week they had secured the services of Kiwis captain James Fisher-Harris on a four-year deal, with the prop in line to replace the departing Addin Fonua-Blake. The deal for the 28-year-old will commence in 2025, just as Fonua-Blake will head to the Cronulla Sharks.

Following the news of Fisher-Harris’ signing, Panthers chief executive Matt Cameron told ABC Sport he was hopeful the club would keep Cleary despite the rumoured interest from the Warriors.

”Webby (Warriors coach Andrew Webster) has always been a fan (of Jett). He is off-contract,” Cameron told ABC Sport. “I haven’t seen a contract offer from the Warriors, but he is a Panther, we would like to think we would be in a competitive space to (re-sign) him.”

Jett Cleary: All you need to know

Born: April 2, 2005

Birthplace: Auckland, NZ

Junior club: Brothers Penrith, St Dominic’s College

Position: Halfback

Height: 182cm

Weight: 81kg

Current club: Penrith

SG Ball Cup: 8 appearances (2023-2024)

Harold Matthews Cup: 5 appearances (2021-2022)

Representative: New South Wales Combined Catholic Colleges (2023)

Luke Kirkness is an Online Sports Editor for the NZ Herald. He previously covered consumer affairs for the Herald and was an assistant news director in the Bay of Plenty. He won Student Journalist of the Year in 2019.

This article was originally posted on the NZ Herald here. 

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