Penrith and NSW’s golden child is today dealing with the consqeunces of the nation’s unchecked tall poppy syndrome.

The halfback is facing a prolonged stint on the sidelines after he took an early guilty plea and accepted a 5-week ban.

The ban came after an objectively harmless tackle, where Cleary misjudged his angles a tiny amount before tombstoning Dylan Brown in the first half of Friday night’s game.

Brown was able to get back to his feet after Cleary tried to dig a hole with his head, causing Panthers fans to inform the rest of the league that there was absolutely nothing in it.

“He was fine mate, I don’t know what the big deal is,” said local Panthers fan Rooty Druitt today, claiming that because the incredibly dangerous tackle didn’t result in serious harm, there shouldn’t be strong consequences for it.

“Cleary only got sent off because the league hates seeing the Panthers win, they need to bring us back down to earth.”

“It was just one of those ones he got the timing slightly wrong on,” explained the man who was calling for a certain player to be banned for life last year.

The Panthers now face the prospect of playing the rest of the regular season without Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai, with both halves ruled out until the first round of finals.

“I guess it’s just the NRL trying to make the league competitive,” laughed Druitt.

“Fuck em”


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