Before they were beaten by Super League Champions St Helens on Saturday, Penrith Panthers, the back to back NRL Champions, were widely considered the best team on the planet.
At the heart of their recent success has been Nathan Cleary who over the last three years has likely been the world’s best player.
The number seven has been sensational and is an NRL winner, State of Origin winner and a World Cup winner.
But the World Club Challenge alluded him on Saturday as his opposite number Lewis Dodd won the game in Golden Point with a drop goal.
This was despite the fact that in his “quest for world domination” as it was put on Nine News, Cleary enlisted the support of New Zealand All Blacks legend Dan Carter especially as Cleary looks to go again in 2023 and lift a third consecutive title.
After working with Carter, Cleary said to Nine News: “Massive fan boy moment for me, it was pretty cool.
“A lot of the stuff was around the mental side of things. He gave me a lot of tips around that, and how to play fluently and putting a lot of focus on the mental side of things that I will definitely look to use as I get older.
“I know it is very important so it was good to bounce ideas off him.”
However, it still wasn’t enough for the Penrith number seven to topple the up and coming Dodd and his ultra dominant St Helens team who have now won everything there is to win.