Trust things to get weird when Brad Fittler is around.
The rugby league legend couldn’t help himself when interviewing Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary on the Sunday Footy Show, dragging his dad — Panthers coach Ivan Cleary — into the mix.
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Appearing on the program after his side’s clinical 20-2 win over Parramatta in the Battle of the West on Friday night, Nathan said his body is feeling pretty good heading into the finals, unaffected by some of the niggles his forwards are dealing with at this time of the year.
“You should do more work,” Fittler told Cleary, who he has coached at Origin level for NSW. “If you’re not hurt or sore or carrying injuries at the moment, you’re not doing enough.”
Nathan politely agreed, before things took a wacky turn.
Fittler: Sterlo (Peter Sterling) touched on Ivan — do you call him dad at training? Or Ivan? Or coach?
Nathan: You’ve asked me this before.
Fittler: I know but I forgot the answer.
Nathan: I call him dad. I dunno, it feels weird calling him Ivan.
Fittler: How about daddy? Does it ever get to daddy?
Nathan: You’re an idiot.
Cleary saw the funny side to being quizzed on his possible daddy issues, putting his head in his hands as he laughed along with the rest of the Channel 9 panel.
“Smartest thing you’ve ever said,” host Erin Molan told Cleary after he put Fittler in his place.
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The Penrith No. 7 is in career-best form and has received widespread praise for helping drive the Panthers to the top of the ladder as they prime themselves for a tilt at the premiership.
Talking seriously for a moment on Nine, Cleary paid tribute to halves partner Jarome Luai, who has been outstanding at five-eighth and sealed victory over the Eels with a brilliant individual try by beating several defenders close to the line.
The Panthers are on a 13-match winning streak and finish the regular season with games against the 14th-placed Cowboys and last-placed Bulldogs — so are every chance of extending that unbeaten run to 15 before the finals start.