September 29, 2022
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Blake plans to handle Cleary bombs

Fiji Bati and Parramatta Eels slotting machine Waqa Blake is preparing a solid plan to handle ex-teammate and Penrith Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary's bombs in the NRL final on Sunday.
 
Blake is well aware that he will be tested under the high ball by Cleary and it has little to do with his performance in the opening finals series match between the two teams.
 
Blake, who began his career alongside Cleary at the Panthers, has watched him practice the floating torpedo kicks that have terrorised so many wingers in the NRL.
 
"Everyone knows Nathan is the best in the game at doing it, but I am just focused on myself and doing my best for the team - obviously catching high balls but also finishing off and being able to defend well," Blake told nrl.com.au.
 
The 27-year-old says he has been doing extra work to ready himself for the aerial assault from Cleary’s right boot while holding no fear for the challenge he will face in the premiership decider.
 
"You can’t prepare, you have just got to try and get under it and catch it."
 
"After my performance the first week I am looking forward to this weekend."
 
"There were a few crucial errors in that game, even by myself, that unsettled us."
 
"I don’t think that we got to play to our full potential but there is no better time to do it than this weekend."
 
"There are no other games after this, this is it. It is anyone’s game, and we are going to worry about ourselves."
 
"Even for myself, heading into the game, I am just going to worry about putting in a good performance, running hard and obviously being able to defend."
 
The Lautoka lad added that he has done the video review of the past games against the Panthers and is confident to ready himself by Sunday.
 
"Since he started his career, he was always the last one to leave the field after training and I just remember the last thing he was doing was those high bombs."
 
"I’ve got to do my best to get underneath it, and other than that just move on from it."
 
"After the game against Penrith we came into video and we just did what we needed to do. Then we just got rid of it."
 
"Whatever has happened in the past, even with last weekend’s game, we did our video straight away and now it is time to move on. I'll be ready on Sunday." 
 
The Eels vs Panthers final will kick off at 8pm. 
 
By Romeka Romena 


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