With Wayne Bennett and Ricky Stuart enjoying their relaxing off-seasons, Ivan Cleary has taken the crown as the NRL coach most interested in playing mind games throughout the 2023 NRL finals.

Having struggled with sleep through the 2021 grand final week after getting winked at by Bennett, Cleary has refined the art of mind games throughout the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

However, after securing a spot in this year’s grand final, Cleary says he is done with mind games this year…or is he?

Halfway through the traditional 1000 chats with sports journos, Cleary admitted to maybe telling fibs about injured players from time to time – but won’t be doing it ahead of the big dance which is exactly what he would say regardless.

“No I’m not playing any mind games this year,” stated Cleary, his narrow eyes slinking with the smooth stealth of a stalking Panther pursuing prey under the cover of night. 

“Or am I?”

“Did you check your mailbox recently Kevy? I think someone might have made a special delivery…”

“Heh heh heh.”


“Mwuah ha ha ha!”


“No, in all seriousness it’s all about the next man up mentality, showing up for one another, and making sure we finish well.”




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