How TikTok and COVID denied Cleary mantle of youngest to attain 1000 factors
COVID-19, TikTok, James Maloney and a broken shoulder have conspired to prevent Nathan Cleary from becoming the youngest rugby league player in history to score 1000 points.
The Panthers star needs four points to reach the milestone against the Wests Tigers on Sunday afternoon.
But he will only miss 34 days to overtake the longtime mark of Graham “Wombat” Eadie, who cracked 1000 points in 1977 at the age of just 23 years and 254 days.
Eadie wasn’t even aware that he was holding the record when he was contacted by The Sun-Herald and, had it not been for hamstring problems in his second season, could have scored 1000 even younger.
“This is a record I didn’t know about,” said Eadie. “I know I had some good guys playing with me, which helped. I had been with Manly for 13 years and scored about 11 of them. I had hamstring problems in 1972 and then hamstring problems again in the early 1980s when I wasn’t kicking a lot.
“Ron Willey helped me a lot with my shot on goal and my style. And my brother Keith helped me at home before I came to Sydney. We went to the park and he kicked the balls back on me while I was training.
Only one player scored 1000 points younger than Nathan Cleary.Credit:Getty Images
“I’m happy for Nathan. He’s a great player, he has everything for him and he has a great mentor with his dad [Ivan]. He organizes a lot for [Penrith]and when he was gone for a couple of weeks they fought. “
Cleary shared a goal scorer requirement with Maloney in 2018 and 2019, lost vital time when the competition was paused due to COVID-19 last year, and had to postpone his return for another two weeks after his infamous TikTok slip. He also recently lost six weeks after injuring his shoulder and valiantly continued playing in Origin II.