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Nathan Cleary says Penrith Panthers aren't arrogant

Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary has launched a passionate defence of teammate Jarome Luai and the Panthers' premiership celebrations insisting his side wouldn't have lifted back-to-back titles if they were "arrogant".

Cleary is in the Kangaroos camp ahead of the Australian Test team's departure for the Rugby League World Cup in England and told reporters on Thursday he felt like he was on the mend after Sunday's grand final.

Still sporting a croaky voice from the Panthers' premiership after party, the playmaker was aware of the backlash his teammates had received for their overzealous celebrations.

Cleary has found an unlikely ally in fellow Kangaroos teammate and Parramatta forward Reagan Campbell-Gillard, who said the Panthers had earned the right to celebrate as they saw fit.

That hasn't stopped Penrith from stinging criticism especially prop James Fisher-Harris, who described Parramatta as the Panthers' "sons", following the media labelling the Eels as the 'big brother' during the grand final build-up.

Hooker Api Koroisau also mocked his future club the Wests Tigers.

Despite the backlash, Cleary said the Panthers were a humble bunch who wouldn't have lifted two premierships and two minor premierships over the last three years if they were a big-headed side.

"I love all the boys I play alongside," Cleary said.

"I don't think any of them are arrogant, if we were arrogant I don't think we'd have gone back to back.

"There's no ego in what we do.

"I think it's unfair on some of our players the way they are portrayed in the media.

"It's an easy target when you're at the top.

"If you're successful and doing well, there's always going to be people wanting to tear you down."

Cleary was particularly strong in his defence of Luai, who has been singled out for criticism.

Luai claimed the Panthers were Parramatta's "daddies" and could also land himself in hot water for the use of the n-word in a social media post, which the NRL integrity unit is examining.

"Romie's just a character and I think people enjoy watching him because he's that character, he is different to other people and that's what makes him so special," Cleary said.

"He's not generic and straight up and down and (if he was) I don't think he'd be as good a player as he is. He's a true competitor.

"Sometimes he's going to say stuff that's going to rile people up, that's what we enjoy about the game of rugby league, it's different."

Campbell-Gillard echoed those sentiments, but was reluctant to discuss the grand final, saying it was "like Harry Potter and Voldermort, we don't speak (of it)".

But the Parramatta prop stuck up for the Panthers and said if he had won he would "be going stupid" as well.

"For the amount of time you train for, say for 10 to 11 months, to go a bit crazy for two or three days, I don't have an issue with it," he said.

"They're talking after having a bit of grog, if the shoe was on the other foot I'd be going stupid."